Serena Williams will try to become the first player to win two Cincinnati women’s titles this afternoon as she takes on World No. 3 Simona Halep.
Serena, who is 47-2, has won her last 14 WTA finals since losing in Cincinnati in 2013 to Victoria Azarenka. And she’s won her last 43 on U.S. hardcourts.
“It’s my third final in a row here, and it feels good to be back in the final,” Serena said after beating Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinals. “She was playing so well today, so I just tried to stay focused and stay aggressive, and I’m happy I won.
“To be honest I’m happy just to still be in the tournament. It’s really exciting for me.”
Halep, a winner last night over Jelena Jankovic, did beat Serena last fall at the WTA Finals 6-0, 6-2, but overall is 1-5 against the World No. 1 including a loss this year in Miami.
“She’s playing well. She was in the finals just last week and she’s going hard and going steady,” Williams said of Halep. “When she beat me in Singapore, she played me well. She came out with an incredible vengeance. Hopefully I’ll be ready for that tomorrow if she decides to do that again.”
Serena is seeking her 69th career title overall. Both are trying for a tour-leading fifth title on the season.
By virtue of reaching the final, Halep will return to the No. 2 ranking on Monday, ahead of Maria Sharapova.
“She’s the best player in the world for me,” Halep said about Serena. “I have nothing to lose. I’ll just try to enjoy myself, but also to believe in my chance.”
Heading into today’s final, Serena leads the WTA in match wins at 47-2 while Halep is the hardcourt queen at 32-4 (40-10 overall).
The women’s final will be played at 3pm ET.
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