This post is a round-up for the past two days from the 2017 WTA Finals in Singapore. I was busy baking last night for my work’s charity bake sale. I made some Millionaire’s Shortbread, which had been my most successful bake of the year in terms of feedback from my colleagues! I managed to get the caramel perfect this time, but messed up the chocolate – an excuse to try them again 😉. I forgot to take a picture but here’s my first attempt from last month.
The second set of matches from the red group were played out on Wednesday. I was super excited about the first match of the day between Caroline Wozniacki and Simona Halep. Sadly it wasn’t much of a contest as for the second straight match, Caroline Wozniacki dropped just two games as she beat a world number one for the third time in as many months – Wozniacki defeated Simona Halep, 6-0 6-2.
Continuing on from her thumping win over Svitolina, Wozniacki managed to create a streak of 16 consecutive games! Wozniacki served really really well with 88% of first serves in in the first set. I don’t think Wozniacki did anything extraordinary – she was very consistent, hitting inside the lines and with decent depth. It was a disappointing display from Halep who committed a large number of unforced errors and won just 27% of second serve points.
The second match of the day on Wednesday was arguably the best match of the tournament so far as Caroline Garcia scored another stunning win over Elina Svitolina, 6-7(7) 6-3 7-5 in two hours and 44 minutes. Garcia did remarkably well to recover from dropping the first set, having had two set points with the second one on her racquet with a volley pushed long. The Frenchwoman rallied in style and produced a simply sensational third set display – 25 winners to 7 unforced errors!
This was an amazing point.
Svitolina was clearly disappointed after the loss. The stats show she didn’t exactly play a bad match.
The permutations for the red group are linked below. All four players can still qualify…
The final set of matches from the white group were played on Thursday. First up was Karolina Pliskova against Jelena Ostapenko. Technically this was a dead rubber as Pliskova had qualified for the semi-finals and Ostapenko was already out. There was still a big bundle of ranking points and prize money up for grabs for the winner and it was Ostapenko who snapped them up with a 6-3 6-1 victory – a nice ending to what has been an incredible year.
Ostapenko’s serve disintegrated against Williams in her second match, yet today she dropped her serve just once and won 72% (!) of points behind her second serve. Ostapenko did reference working on her serve in the off-season in her final press conference.
It was a straight shoot-out between Venus Williams and Garbiñe Muguruza for the final place in the semi-finals and from a break down in both sets, it was Venus who won, 7-5 6-4. There wasn’t a great deal to separate the pair in the stats and it was Williams who was simply better at the ends of both sets. I thought the American was generally more positive in her play and more effective on serve, winning big with the body serve that frequently seemed to jam up Muguruza. The Spaniard has been super solid through much of the year, yet was rather error-strewn, particularly in the key moments, with a total of 32 unforced errors.
Another gutsy effort from Venus. She was much more emotional on court today than we’ve seen for much of the year and while she’s been completely distant in press, it was clear to see how much this win meant to her at the end. Nothing but respect for Venus…
The doubles finally got underway today – with eight teams, I think it’s a shame they canned the round robin format. The two seeded pairs both advanced to Saturday’s semi-finals. Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan beat Anna-Lena Groenefeld, 6-3 6-2, and Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova defeated Andreja Klepac and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, 6-3 6-4.
Big news surfaced before the final doubles match – Martina Hingis will retire from tennis after this tournament.
Friday will feature the final round robin matches from the red group with both matches still important to the outcome. First up at not before 4pm local time is Caroline Wozniacki against Caroline Garcia. Wozniacki has dropped just four games through two matches. If Garcia can harness anything close to the level she did against Svitolina then i’d expect this to be Wozniacki’s closest match of the week by quite some margin!
I’d take a super confident Wozniacki and on this court to prevail in this match-up. I do wonder though whether the semi-final permutations will be in her head. If she were to qualify top of the group then she would play Venus Williams – Caroline has never beaten Venus and won just one set against her in seven previous meetings…
The top two seeds in the red group, Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina, will clash at not before 7:30pm. The pair have had a colourful head-to-head this year:
- Svitolina d. Halep, 4-6 7-5 6-1 (Rome, Final) – A good win for Svitolina although Halep was injured and clearly not moving as she can in the third set.
- Halep d. Svitolina, 3-6 7-6(6) 6-0 (French Open, QFs) – Svitolina’s toughest loss of the year as Halep fought back from match point down to win.
- Svitolina d. Halep, 6-1 6-1 (Toronto, SFs) – One of those off days for Halep and one of her toughest losses.
This has been a pretty monumental match-up in 2017 – both have triumphed big and also caused each other misery! I wonder if Svitolina might be the more relaxed of the pair after her first two losses and will go out swinging. I’ve noted in her title runs this year that she never started those tournaments in particularly good form and she seems to be a player that relies on building form and momentum with every match.
Halep is in a curiously similar position to last year when she won her opener in straight sets and then it was sadly downhill from there. No doubt she will be motivated to not let that happen again, but i’d guess Halep will feel the pressure more. As always, I hope it’s a good contest. That’s all I ever ask for when i’m neutral. A one-sided straight sets win for either player would not surprise me with how this group has unfolded!
And finally, ending on a very happy note. Tornado Black has had her hip surgery and is in rehab! All the best to Tornado in her recovery 😊