WTA Finals Singapore Final Four
Serena Conquers Halep, Singapore for Fifth WTA Finals Crown
wtafinals.com: October 26, 2014 Singapore - Four days after experiencing one of the heaviest defeats of her career, Serena Williams gained revenge in spectacular fashion, crushing Simona Halep, 6-3, 6-0, to win the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
Williams has now won five times at the WTA's season-ending showpiece, a total bettered only by Martina Navratilova, and will once again finish the year as the World No.1.
While her position at the top of the rankings was a mathematical certainty following Maria Sharapova's premature exit, the nature of her loss to Halep during the round robin left her with a score to settle and a point to prove. And she did this in emphatic fashion, overcoming a slow start to blow away Halep amid a whirlwind of winners.
"She was playing so well at the beginning and I told myself to just relax and once I did that I started playing better and making my shots," Williams said.
"I lost to her a couple of days ago so I knew she was capable of playing really well, but I knew I had to play better if I wanted to win. I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to play here and now I've won the Billie Jean King Trophy again - it's an amazing feeling."
Early on, it looked like Halep could repeat her round robin heroics, negating her opponent's greater power, breaking for a 2-1 lead with a trademark down-the-line backhand. Williams, however, had other ideas, elevating her game and unleashing a series of withering returns to restore parity.
With the errors that blighted their first encounter nowhere to be seen, Williams began to ratchet up the pressure, a delightful touch at the net helping her to the decisive break before closing out the set with a couple of aces.
This immaculate tennis continued into the second, Williams ruthlessly punishing any second serves and bounding into the net with increasing regularity. Halep seemed powerless in the face of this assault, and after just 69 minutes Williams put her out of her misery, smashing away one final winner.
For Halep, it was a bittersweet ending to a breakthrough season, that saw her establish herself amongst the top tie in the women's game. "I had a good start. I had a 40-0 game and then a chance to make it 3-1 but I couldn't quite get that game.
"It was one of the biggest matches I've played so I was a little bit nervous. I was tired a little bit and I couldn't make the step into the court and play the aggressive game I did in my other matches.
"I gave everything today, and, you know, that was my level today. It wasn't my best day, but I'm still happy and I'm still enjoying this moment because it's a good moment for me."
Serena Edges Wozniacki, Sets Rematch Showdown with Halep in Final
wtafinals.com: October 25, 2014 Singapore - Three times this summer, Caroline Wozniacki attempted to get the better of good friend Serena Williams. Three times she came up short.
After two hours of twists and turns at the Singapore Sports Hub on Saturday, it looked like Wozniacki’s time had finally come. Leading 4-1 in the third set tie-break, victory beckoned. Her grip on proceedings seemed to tighten on the next point when Williams struck a forehand that crashed into the tape.
But rather than nestle into the net or spring up invitingly for a routine winner, the ball dropped dead on the Dane’s side of the court. On such moments matches are won and lost. Four points later she was two match points down.
While she fended off the danger temporarily, there was to be no denying Williams, who brought up another opportunity with an ace out wide. This time Wozniacki had no answer.
During the round robin stage, Williams suffered a heavy defeat to Simona Halep, and for the first half hour or so against Wozniacki another humbling experience looked on the cards. Having won just two games in the first set, Williams, seemingly through pure force of will, raised her game for the second, breaking Wozniacki's serve for the first time with a ferocious return, before repeating the trick a few games later to level the match.
The third set lasted longer than the first two combined as the players ran themselves into the ground. For once, it looked like Wozniacki would be the one left standing, winning a 26-shot rally to fend off a break point, then breaking Williams in the ninth game to lead 5-4. However, she was unable to serve it out the match as the World No.1 dragged herself back from the brink once more to stay on course for a third straight WTA Finals title winning 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(6).
In the other semifinal match, it is not often that Agnieszka Radwanska is forced to play second fiddle in terms of shotmaking. However, on Saturday evening at the Singapore Sports Hub, she did just that, as an inspired Simona Halep outclassed her, 6-2, 6-2.
During the round robin stage, Halep produced the performance of her career to humble World No.1 Serena Williams, and she was in a similar vein of form against Radwanska. The Romanian barely put a foot wrong, hitting 26 winners to overpower Radwanska’s cerebral game.
This gameplan was clear from the start, Halep's relentless pressure sending her opponent scurrying to all corners of the court. And this relentless aggression was soon paying dividends, Radwanska coughing up a few errors to fall a break behind.
With Radwanska struggling to make any impression on Halep's serve, the set soon followed. At the start of the second, things went from bad to worse for the Pole as she dropped serve twice amid a flurry of fiendish returns. While Radwanska clawed back one of the breaks, it was only delaying the inevitable, Halep calmly serving out after little more than an hour on court.