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Serena powers to second win in Istanbul, Jankovic shines

Serena Williams of the U.S. throws balls to spectators after her WTA tennis championships match against Angelique Kerber of Germany at Sinan
Serena Williams of the U.S. throws balls to spectators after her WTA tennis championships match against Angelique Kerber of Germany at Sinan

By Ece Toksabay

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - World number one Serena Williams beat Agnieszka Radwanska for the eighth time in eight matches to move ominously towards the semi-finals of the WTA Championships on Wednesday.

The American was again too strong for the Pole in a 6-2 6-4 victory to stay in charge of Red Group with one more round-robin match to come against Petra Kvitova, another player to whom she has never suffered defeat.

"Radwanska definitely played pretty well. Am I happy? I guess. I'm happy to still be alive in the tournament. But, you know, I can always look to improve on some things," Williams told reporters after her 75th match win of a dominant year.

"My serve wasn't as good today as it was yesterday, but, you know, you can't expect it to be great every day."

"It wasn't easy.' she added. "It's the end of the year and I'm a little tired, so I really had to fight in that second set to stay up mentally."

Radwanska, whose only set against the 32-year-old Williams came in the 2012 Wimbledon final of, is unlikely to survive the group after two defeats so far at the season-ender.

Earlier in White Group Serbia's Jelena Jankovic beat second seed Victoria Azarenka 6-4 6-3, aided by 40 unforced errors from her erratic opponent.

FEELS INCREDIBLE

"It feels incredible to beat Azarenka here in Istanbul," former world No.1 one Jankovic, making her first appearance at the event for three years, said.

"I was so excited to qualify and give myself a chance to play against the best players in the world once again, and to win today is amazing.

"Every match in the round robin format counts, and every match is difficult too. I'm really happy. Beating Vika will give me a lot of confidence going into the next matches."

Jankovic had lost her last 17 matches against players ranked in the top four.

Azarenka had won her opening match against Sara Errani on Tuesday and will have a day off on Thursday, while Jankovic will play her second round robin match against China's Li Na.

Li beat am injury-hit Errani 6-3 7-6(5) to raise hopes of surviving the round-robin stage after failing to do so in 2011 and 2012. "It was important to win the first match because it is always tough. Sara was fighting a lot today, she is always a tough fighter," said Li.

Errani, who had her calf heavily strapped, has lost both matches so far.

(Editing by Martyn Herman)

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