WTA Finals: Serena Williams overcomes Ana Ivanovic in opener

Serena Williams
The US Open was Williams' only Grand Slam title in 2014

Serena Williams began the defence of her WTA Finals crown with a hard-fought 6-4 6-4 win over world number seven Ana Ivanovic.

It was the 33-year-old's 16th consecutive win in the tournament, although the Serb gave her a stiff test in this latest encounter in Singapore.

Ivanovic, 26, fought back in the opening set from 4-1 to level at 4-4, before Williams broke again.

The world number one broke once more at 5-4 in the second to seal victory.

Serena Williams's 18 Grand Slam titles
Australian Open (5): 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010
French Open (2): 2002 and 2013
Wimbledon (5): 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010 and 2012
US Open (6): 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2014

"I'm really excited with how I played. I couldn't be happier to be playing here in Singapore. I was fighting really hard," said Williams.

The end-of-season competition features the top eight ranked players in the world. Two sets of four players face each other in round-robin matches, before the top two in each group advance to the semi-finals.

Both Williams and Ivanovic are in the Red group alongside Simona Halep, who defeated Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard 6-2 6-3.

The first matches in the White group take place on Tuesday, with world number two Maria Sharapova up against Caroline Wozniacki and Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova taking on Agnieszka Radwanska.

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