Originally written on Tennis Panorama  |  Last updated 11/14/14
(October 24, 2012) In a battle which featured high quality shot-making and high drama, No. 1 Victoria Azarenka saved two match points  to turn back Angelique Kerber 6-7(11), 7-6(2), 6-4 in three hours in her first round-robin match at the WTA Championships in Istanbul on Wednesday. Azarenka is just one victory away from clinching the year-end No. 1 world ranking. Kerber fought back from 2-6 down in the opening set tiebreak to capture the set 7-6(13-11) The 13-11 first set tie-break won by Kerber over Azarenka equals two other tiebreaks for the longest in singles in TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships history – Steffi Graf defeating Lindsay Davenport in 1996 quarterfinal and Helena Sukova beating Jo Durie in 1984 round of 16. Both women determined to triumph smashed racquets in the second set. No. 5 Kerber came back from a break down in the second set, but took a 5-4 lead after a games which went to deuce nine times and lasted almost 14 minutes. Azarenka saved two match points in the second set before dominating the tiebreak 7-2. “Vika played unbelievable in those moments,” Kerber said.  “And also I was 2‑6 down in the tiebreak and I won it, so it was maybe the same thing.  I mean, I had the match points in the second set but she played unbelievable and I couldn’t do nothing.” Azarenka’s win over Kerber ties the WTA Championships record for most games at 36, and it is the third match to last that long. The previous two matches were – Justine Henin defeating Anastasia Myskina, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 (2003 round-robin), and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario over Jana Novotna, 6-7(2), 7-6(2), 6-4 (1993 quarterfinal). “It was definitely a great fight,” Azarenka said. “I’m more proud of the way I handled and stayed in that match, because all those emotions kind of overcome the hitting shots and moving around. “It’s just that fight, that tension that you have throughout the match, it’s just, I don’t know, overwhelms the rest.” “She (Kerber) provoked a lot of mistakes from me which was also not very pleasant for me, but on the match points I just thought I had to go for it,” the Belarusian continued.  She will not miss, so I didn’t have to wait for her mistake.  I had to go for it. “I was so determined to make it happen.  I wanted to change the momentum.  I wanted to take the kind of destiny into my hands.  You know, if I would have missed those shots it will be up to me, not up to my opponent.” Kerber now 0-2 in Red Group play,  has had a career year. This is her first year-end championship, rising from No. 32 at the end of 2011 to No. 5. Next round-robin match for Azarenka will be 15-time major champion and No. 3 Serena Williams – win would solidify her year-ending No. 1 ranking. “I think it’s always kind of special when I play Serena,“ Azarenka said.  “We always play on the bigger stages with her, so this is also another big stage.  Tomorrow it’s going to be another day, you know, a little bit different condition.  We never played indoors, so I’m looking forward to that. “I don’t really think about the ranking.  I actually didn’t even know that.  So I will just try to focus on my game, because after the game it will be decided.  It’s kind of out of my hands before I control what happens on the court.”   TEB BNP PARIBAS WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS – ISTANBUL 2012 Istanbul, Turkey October 23-28, 2012 $4,900,000/SEC Hard/Indoors Results – Wednesday, October 24, 2012 Round Robin – Red Group (1) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (5) Angelique Kerber (GER) 67(11) 76(2) 64 (saved 2mp) (3) Serena Williams (USA) d. (8) Li Na (CHN) 76(2) 63 Round Robin – White Group (2) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (4) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 57 75 75 Order Of Play – Thursday, October 25, 2012 Stadium (from 17.00hrs) [5] Angelique Kerber (GER) vs [8] Li Na (CHN) [1] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) vs [3] Serena Williams (USA) [9] Samantha Stosur (AUS) vs [7] Sara Errani (ITA)
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jerome Bettis elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame

Report: Tim Duncan suing financial adviser, lost $20 million

Bret Bielema wanted Dolphins to draft Russell Wilson early

Nick Diaz apologizes to fans for skipping open workout

NFLPA President compares Goodell to a 2-year-old

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

NFL explains how Super Bowl balls will be prepped

Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao close to deal for fight

TJ Lang: Suh wanted to fight me after stepping on Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Hernandez jurors allowed to watch Super Bowl

Tiger misses cut: ‘I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined’

Rex Ryan: Seahawks need to ‘take the air out of the football’

Should the Super Bowl be played on a Saturday?

Underwear company shows support for Marshawn Lynch

WATCH: WVU player flips opponent the double-bird

Five NFL players who could be cap casualties in 2015

Making the case for NFL co-MVPs

WATCH: Tom Brady sings about balls being deflated

WATCH: Bruce Pearl gets warm reception in Tennessee return

WATCH: Serena Williams loses point for yelling "come on!"

Report: Missy Elliott joining Katy Perry for halftime show

WATCH: Jimmy Butler throws down half-court alley-oop

President Obama zings Patriots over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's Player Of The Year candidates

Tennis News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Tim Duncan suing financial adviser?

Five likely cap casualties of 2015

Making the case for NFL co-MVPs

WATCH: Tom Brady sings about balls

Missy Elliott to join Katy Perry at SB?

Obama zings Pats over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's POY candidates

Super Bowl XLIX preview and predictions: Patriots vs. Seahawks

The 13 things we want to see in Super Bowl XLIX

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Tiger Woods, misses cut: ‘I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined’

Ranking the repeat SB champions

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.