The draw for the round robin groups of the 2015 WTA Finals in Singapore was announced on Friday with the first matches set to get underway on Sunday. Simona Halep heads up the white group and is joined by Maria Sharapova, Agnieszka Radwanska and Flavia Pennetta. Garbiñe Muguruza headlines the red group and is joined by Petra Kvitova, Angelique Kerber and Lucie Safarova. In case you missed it, I posted a pre-draw preview with profiles of all eight finalists covering their 2015 seasons which you can read HERE. This post covers the draw for the round robin groups with match previews beginning from Saturday.
The white group consists of the three lefties and Muguruza. My four favourite players from the eight are all in this group and all the match-ups sound extremely inviting so i’m excited! Kvitova is the only player of the three who has experience in Singapore, while Muguruza and Safarova are both competing in the WTA Finals for the first time. My first thoughts from this group was what a stinker for Lucie. I was really hoping she would avoid Petra who she has never beaten in seven previous encounters.
Pre-draw, I fancied Muguruza to do well and I think i’m still in that boat. The Spaniard has won her last three matches against Kerber and will play Kvitova for the first time in what should be a fascinating battle. We’ll also get to see Kerber v Kvitova and Kerber v Safarova for the first time this year. Lucie’s the underdog but if she can find her feet quickly, and playing doubles with Bethanie Mattek-Sands may help her do that, then I don’t think she’s to be written of just yet. The Czech player has won her most recent encounters against Kerber and Muguruza.
While I went for Petra to win Singapore last year and normally favour her for a lot of tournaments, i’m not feeling so positive about her chances this time. However, she’s pretty darn good at coming out of nowhere (and in this case it would be nowhere) to find some form and go all the way.
Predictions to qualify for the semi-finals: Muguruza and Kerber
The red group doesn’t hold quite as much intrigue for me but it’s harder to pick out the top two, mostly because of the uncertainty surrrounding Sharapova; the world number three hasn’t played a completed match since Wimbledon. As well as the injuries, it will be a tough ask for her to slip straight back into competition against top ten opponents. However, playing close-ish to her best, Sharapova should beat all three of her round robin opponents. I’m not convinced about Maria but I am ALL IN for a first Halep v Sharapova match in 2015. While Halep struggled during the Asian Swing, my hunch is that she gets it together in Singapore.
Radwanska and Pennetta are more than capable of qualifying from this group; Pennetta has a superb record against Sharapova, leading the head-to-head 3-2 and winning their last three matches, all in three sets. Pennetta also beat Halep in their last match at the US Open and will want to go out on a high in the last competitive tournament of her career. It’s hard to gauge whether she will feel any pressure or feel completely freeee to go out with a flourish. While her recent results in Asia have been disappointing, Pennetta often raises her game against top ten opposition. Radwanska had a humdinger with Sharapova at last year’s WTA Finals and that will be a crucial clash. The Pole has been in excellent form through the Asian Swing and looked very competent on these courts last year. It’s a wide open group…
Predictions to qualify for the semi-finals: Halep and Radwanska