The final of the 2014 WTA Championships is set for Sunday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium between Simona Halep and Serena Williams.
The pair clash for the second time in a week at 12:00 UK time today, with Williams surely out for some quick revenge after being thrashed by the Romanian only four days ago.
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep
Saturday’s semi-finals proved to be a profitable stage of the tournament for this column when Williams and Caroline Wozniacki went well over the total games mark, while those on the Halep 2-0 over Aga Radwanska would also have won.
Williams was made to fight every inch of the way by Wozniacki in a match that I expected to be a test for the American, who eventually came through in a final set tie break over the Dane.
Woz certainly had her chances to win it, not least at 4-1 ahead in that deciding breaker and also when serving for the match at 5-4 in set three, but it wasn’t to be and a fascinating rematch between Williams and Halep is the result.
Halep defeated Radwanska more comfortably than I expected in another fine performance this week, while it wasn’t the best of days for the Pole, who wasn’t able to produce anything to trouble the in-form Romanian.
Williams was in sarcastic mood when asked about her prospects in the final against Halep after that 0-6, 2-6 loss to her rival and she said: “My goal is to win three games,” and “hopefully I can hold serve. That would be good. Most of all, I hope to break once.”
What is for sure is that she’ll need to be way more focused than earlier in the week and she surely will be, as that crushing defeat will have hurt badly, despite her flippancy and surely we’ll see a much improved showing from the world number one this time.
I’m not convinced yet about Halep on the biggest of stages, as while she’s won biggish titles she’s still to land a major and she has been damaged by nerves before and even she admits that she “will be nervous”.
I doubt she’ll play with the same freedom of the round robin match, but it will still be a very difficult proposition for Williams and for me this has all the hallmarks of a three setter and that’s a 2.40 shot.
Williams will surely want to put down a marker here ahead of next season after that embarrassment of a few days ago, but I’m not so sure that she’ll be able to turn it around easily, with no mention being made of the knee injury that was talked about again after the round robin loss.
The three set wager or 2-1 to Williams, whose big match experience will probably edge her over the line look the ones to be on the shortlist here.
Back Williams to beat Halep 2-1 at 3.90