World No. 1 Serena Williams was made to look like a failed qualifier on Tuesday at the WTA Finals in Singapore, receiving a 6-0, 6-2 beatdown at the hands of Romanian former world No. 2 Simona Halep.
Williams described the encounter as “embarrassing” in a post-match conference where she maintained a smile while at the same time looking like she could begin crying at any moment.
“My forehand was off today,” Williams said. “It’s obviously gone on an early vacation. My serve was at best at the 10-and-under division of juniors.”
Halep, who defeated Genie Bouchard in straight sets in her round robin opener, is now all but secured for a place in the semifinals after not dropping a set in two matches.
The loss snapped Williams’ 16-match winning streak at the year-end championships, but with the round robin format the two-time defending champion can still make the semifinals.
“It was my best match of my life,” said Halep, who had never beaten a Top 3 player. “I played unbelievable shots. It means a lot this match. At an important time I played really well, and after today my confidence will be more high.”
Also on Tuesday Ana Ivanovic defeated Bouchard 6-1, 6-3, eliminating the Canadian and keeping her own chances alive for a spot in the semifinals after losing her first match to Williams.
A lost-looking Bouchard, who had won both her previous matches against the former No. 1 Ivanovic, was overheard during an on-court coaching visit asking her coach what she was even doing playing the event.
On Thursday in Singapore will be Caroline Wozniacki vs. Agnieszka Radwanska, and Maria Sharapova vs. Petra Kvitova.
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