Russian Maria Sharapova defeated Italy's Sara Errani in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, in opening round action at the 2012 TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.
"It was a slow start—I gave Sara a lot of time, and that's what she likes," Sharapova said. "Her variety is what has won her so many matches this year. She loves to open the angles. I think the points were going a bit too long - I just tried to step in and be more aggressive after that, and it really helped me."
Sharapova finished the match with twice as many unforced errors as Errani (26 to 13) but had six and a half times as many winners as the Italian (39 to 6). Sharapova was told 22 of those winners were off the forehand wing.
"I wasn't counting them, but I guess it's a good number to have!" said Sharapova. "I don't think I did that in the first four, five games - as the match went on I certainly didn't want points going way too long against her. I wanted to be the more aggressive one."
Sharapova still has a shot at finishing the year number one, but not only does she need to win the title with at least two round-robin wins, she needs Victoria Azarenka to win a maximum of one round-robin match (and not make it past the semis). The number seven-ranked Errani fell to 0-22 against top five players, her two best wins coming against number sixes, both this year—Samantha Stosur in the semifinals of the French Open and Angelique Kerber in the fourth round of the U.S. Open.