Serena Williams blasted 31 winners to just 11 unforced errors to beat Angelique Kerber in her first match of the week. The World No.1 also surpassed $10 million in prize money for the year.
WTA Staff

ISTANBUL, Turkey - Serena Williams came out very strong in her first match of the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul, beating Angelique Kerber in just a few minutes past the hour, 63 61.

Watch highlights, interviews and much more video from Istanbul all week, right here!

From the first point of the match it looked like the No.1-seeded Williams was dialed in - she blasted a first serve out wide then smacked a crosscourt forehand winner into the same corner - and she never really backed down from her aggressive strategy, firing 31 winners to just 11 unforced errors in the 64-minute duel. She finished it off with winner No.31 - a backhand down the line into the open court.

Williams lost just 11 points in eight service games and was an impeccable 14 for 14 at the net.

"Let's be honest, most of those net points were overheads or swing volleys - I remember hitting one or two volleys, that's it!" Williams said. "I love coming to net but I love the baseline, that's my thing.

"But I feel really good actually. I think I served really well. She's beaten me before so I was really a little nervous and so focused going into this match. I really felt like I had to play well to win today."

And what about that +20 differential of winners to unforced? "Yeah, I'm actually saying I'm happy about a match - I never say that!" she added. "I'm pretty excited about it. I've been working really hard since the Open. Hopefully I can continue like this. You never know. I'm just happy I won a match here."

Not only did she win a match, but she also made a milestone - by winning her first match, in fact just by stepping onto the court for it, Williams surpassed $10 million in prize money for the season, and if she goes all the way to the title undefeated here, she will surpass $12 million in prize money this year.

The previous single season prize money record was $7,923,920, which was Victoria Azarenka in 2012.

Williams plays her second match on Wednesday night against No.3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

"It's such a tough tournament, every match I have to be so focused," Williams said. "I'm happy right now, but I know I have to get focused again to come out and play the No.4 player in the world."

The No.8-seeded Kerber finished the match with a -5 differential of nine winners to 14 errors.