The final round robin matches in the 2014 WTA Championships in Singapore get underway on Friday, with qualification from both groups up for grabs.
As usual in these end of season jamboree events there’s an incredibly complex set of scenarios that can happen to determine who proceeds to the semi finals from each of the two groups.
Two things we do know are that Genie Bouchard is out and Simona Halep is through from the Red Group and the other place will be taken by either Serena Williams or Ana Ivanovic.
Helpfully, the final match of the day on Friday is Halep vs Ivanovic and the following scenarios will decide who goes through:
If Halep wins the match or a set then Williams is into the semis. If Ivanovic wins in straight sets then a tie-break method takes effect and whichever one of Williams and Ivanovic has won the highest percentage of games played during the tournament will join Halep in the last four.
Things are scarcely any clearer in the White Group, with all four still in with a chance of progressing on Friday into the semi finals.
Kvitova faces Caroline Wozniacki at 08:00 UK time on Friday knowing that a straight sets win will see her into the semis, while the 06:30 UK time match between Maria Sharapova and Aga Radwanska must be a 2-0 win for the Russian if she wants to have a chance of getting through.
Maria Sharapova vs Agnieszka Radwanska
Sharapova can still finish the season as world number one, but she must beat Radwanska 2-0 before she can even begin to think about that and going on her performances so far this week I’m not sure she has the energy.
The Russian’s serve has looked highly suspect so far in Singapore and Kvitova gave her a bit of a beatdown on Thursday in a 6-3, 6-2 victory.
She does have a great 10-2 career record over Radwanska, but her last two against the Pole on hard courts have resulted in a tight three set win for Sharapova in this event in 2012 and a success for Aga in Miami earlier that same season.
Sharapova scores with power over Radwanska, but how much desire, energy and commitment does she have left at the end of a tough season and looking likely not to qualify anyway?
The 2-0 win that Maria needs is too short at 2.10 and I actually think it’s a better option to back the fitter player here and that certainly seems to be Aga.
Maria was unable to really hit through Wozniacki in her first match here and from what I’ve seen of her this week she may not be able to against Radwanska either, especially if her serve doesn’t improve markedly.
The Pole is fit and well according to her own statements and she’ll be right there if Sharapova isn’t reasonably close to her best form and the 2.60 on the underdog looks the call here.
Petra Kvitova vs Caroline Wozniacki
Woz landed my best bet of the day on Thursday with a win over Radwanska in straight sets that covered the minus 2.5 game handicap and now she finds herself needing just a set today to make the semis.
The only scenario where Wozniacki can fail to make the last four is if Radwanska wins in two and Kvitova wins in two, so the Dane is likely to make it, but Kvitova knows she must win this match, realistically.
From the evidence of what I’ve seen of the conditions here in Singapore the surface is one that you can hit winners on and also defend on and Kvitova will need to be at her best to get the 2-0 win she wants.
The Czech needed the first match to get a feel for conditions it seems and she was very good against Sharapova, but Wozniacki will be a tough nut to crack and their career series has been tight overall.
They haven’t met this year though and I would probably favour a rare three setter here at 1.87 if I was getting involved, but I prefer the Radwanska bet to anything in this one.
The final match of the day is really all down to what Halep wants to do.
Will she offer up a feeble effort and lose in two sets to get Williams out of the tournament, or will she just go out and try and win and see what happens?
The 2-0 Ivanovic win for conspiracy theorists will be around a 2.75 shot and that’s too short and if ever there was a match not to bet on this is one such affair.
Back Radwanska to beat Sharapova at 2.60