Friday was the last day of round robin action from the 2017 WTA Finals. The first match of the day saw another spirited comeback from Caroline Garcia, winning the last four games from 3-5 down in the third set (again!) and serving her way out of a *0-40 hole at *5-5 to beat Caroline Wozniacki, 0-6 6-3 7-5. Wozniacki missed a few backhands into the net, while Garcia found some lines on big points. Garcia’s run through Asia has been simply sensational.
Two points away from losing the match, this was one of the best points of the tournament as Garcia turned defence into attack.
That smile ☺️
Wozniacki had held 19 consecutive service games up to 6-0 2-2 in the second set when Garcia then broke Wozniacki’s serve for the first time this week and three times in a row. While not affecting the outcome of qualification for Wozniacki, a shame for the Dane not to have pulled out the win having served for the match at *5-4 in the third set. Onwards and upwards to the semi-finals…
In the final round robin match of the tournament, Elina Svitolina won her first match of the week with a 6-3 6-4 win over Simona Halep. Halep tried to be positive and got into some good positions, but struggled to put a chasing-and-racing Svitolina away. Halep mentioned the court in her press conference and her inability to hit winners on it.
Svitolina looked the more relaxed of the pair and overall played a decent match. A good end to the year and I really think she will keep improving in 2018. For Halep, she just couldn’t find her game and looked so frustrated. It’s the third year in a row where she has won her first match in straight sets in Singapore and then lost the next two to miss out on qualifying for the semi-finals. It’s been an emotional year – rest up, Simona!
In the second of the doubles semi-final, Kiki Bertens and Johanna Larsson will play Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina. Bertens and Larsson caused the first upset of the week with a win over the number four seeds, Ash Barty and Casey Dellacqua, while Makarova and Vesnina dropped just two games in a 59 minute rout of Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yi-Fan.
The doubles semi-finals will be played on Super Saturday with Chan Yung-Jan and Martina Hingis up against Andrea Hlavackova and Timea Babos at not before 1:30pm.
The first of the singles semi-finals will be at not before 4pm between Karolina Pliskova and Caroline Wozniacki. The pair have played five times this year (click on the links for details of all five matches):
- Pliskova d. Wozniacki, 6-3 6-4 (Doha, Final) – This was Pliskova’s first ever win over Wozniacki
- Wozniacki d. Pliskova, 5-7 6-1 6-1 (Miami, SF) – After a close first set, Wozniacki ran away with the match against a lacklustre final two sets from Pliskova.
- Pliskova d. Wozniacki, 6-4 6-4 (Eastbourne, Final) – A great match and one I was lucky enough to watch live. Wozniacki played a superb match, but just threw in two poor service games. One of Pliskova’s best matches of the year.
- Wozniacki d. Pliskova, 7-5 6-7(3) 6-4 (Toronto, QF) – A fabulous fighting display from Wozniacki to claw back from a 2-4 third set deficit.
- Pliskova d. Wozniacki, 6-2 6-4 (Cincy, QF) – Just too good from Pliskova.
Both players won their first two matches in Singapore comfortably before losing their third round robin match having known they had already qualified for the semi-finals. I think today’s loss for Wozniacki will have been a bit of a confidence crusher but Garcia did play lights out at the end. Pliskova has been too good in her three wins, but on this court and with Wozniacki having played so well through much of Asia, i’d be more inclined to pick the Dane.
The second of the semi-finals at not before 7:30pm will be between Venus Williams and Caroline Garcia. I’m pleased that Garcia eventually qualified as it would have been so rough for her not to have made the last four after two stirring three set wins over Svitolina and Wozniacki back-to-back. I think these two have been the best stories of the tournament so it’s neat one of them will make the final.
In their only previous encounters, the pair split matches in Wuhan and Beijing back in 2014 – Garcia won a cracking match at the former in a third set tiebreak, while Williams won in straights in Beijing. Both have fought magnificently during this tournament. It’s a different kind of match-up to the last three for Garcia, but I kind of think her confidence and momentum might pull her through. I could see it going either way 😂.