WTA Finals: Halep Makes Semis, Will She Allow Serena To Join Her?
by Sean Randall | October 23rd, 2014, 6:58 pm

One of the downsides of round robin play in the awkward situation we have on Friday at the WTA Finals in Singapore. Simona Halep, who won her group and qualified for a spot in the semifinals on Saturday, holds Serena Williams’s fate in the tournament on her racquet.

Halep, who beat Serena along with Genie Bouchard, in 2-0 and on top of her Red Group. Serena, a 6-1, 6-1, winner today over Bouchard, is 2-1. Ivanovic is 1-1 and now plays Halep.

So under the convoluted qualification rules, if Halep loses to Ivanovic in straight sets it would be Ivanovic, not Serena, getting that second spot in the semifinals from the Red Group (Halep, Ivanovic and Serena all would be 2-1, but Serena loses out based on games won pct because of her lopsided loss to Halep).

Should Halep win even a set off Ivanovic, Serena advances.

If you are Halep, do you want Serena playing on the weekend or Ivanovic? Easy choice. I know there are points and prize money on the line, but if I’m Halep maybe I take it “easy” against Ivanovic. If I win, I win, but no need to push it because even though she crushed Serena the other day, you don’t want to play her again in the Sunday finals.

In the White Group, things are still very much in the air with all four players still alive. Maria Sharapova, who’s still mathematically alive in the No. 1 race, has to beat Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets to make the semifinals.

Radwanska gets in by winning in straights, but could be left out if she wins in three.

In the second White match, Caroline Wozniacki takes on Petra Kvitova. Wozniacki will have qualified if Sharapova wins a set against Radwanska. If Maria cannot, then Caroline gets a SF berth by winning a set against Kvitova.

A win by Kvitova puts the Czech through. However, if Radwanska wins in straights in the earlier match then Kvitova will also have to do the same to make the semifinals, other Wozniacki gets the nod over Petra.

Everyone follow?

Tennis Channel has live coverage starting at 1:30am ET.

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18 Comments for WTA Finals: Halep Makes Semis, Will She Allow Serena To Join Her?

autoFilter Says:

Halep is way too nice to make the smart (and, yeah, horribly dirty) play here.

TennisVagabond.com Says:

This happened in Men’s thirty years ago- if I remember right, Lendl threw a match to avoid meeting Connors. Does anyone remember that?

TennisVagabond.com Says:

googled- Lendl threw the match against Connors to avoid Borg.

Wog boy Says:

I tend to believe that Soderling did the same to Nole at the YEC few years ago, he missed the court when he had easy one on the net that even Blind Frredy wouldn’t be able to miss, that point sent Nole packing home. Soderling reaction after miss said it all.

Wog boy Says:

^^ “Freddy”

Okiegal Says:

@Sean……Did everyone follow??…..not!! Lol

Polo Says:

If Halep does not take the opportunity to get rid of Serena the easiest way possible, then she is stupid. That’s sports. You always want to have the upper hand. It’s not cheating. It’s playing the cards.

autoFilter Says:


I think it’s a bit of a conundrum. As far as I’m aware, failure to compete fully in a match is a fineable offense. Surely playing to lose could not be considered competing for the match. So while I definitely agree that for her to throw the match would make strategic sense (and in that light could be said to be a competitive maneuver), it seems to me to that for her to do so would be in violation of the rules.

Of course she could make it look like she’s trying to win, but then that’d be orchestrating a deception to avoid being penalized for breaking the rules… and that sure sounds like cheating to me.

Maybe I’m mistaken about the rules, though. Or perhaps they are different in the WTA, but I think someone on the men’s side was even fairly recently fined for lack of best effort. I can’t remember whom.

I’m curious to see how this plays out. As I said, Simona strikes me as genuinely too nice of a person to go that route outright, but then as Sean put it, maybe she won’t exactly feel the ‘need to push it.’ And it’s not like Ivanovic would be incapable of straight-setting her on the right day…

Wog boy Says:

^^ Davydenko was fined, few years back, in his match against Cilic but it was dismissed on appeal and Davyednko was cleared of wrongdoing. The problem is, how do you prove it beyond reasonable doubt?!
They often penalize jokey, here, for not giving his best effort to win the race, but how do you do it with tennis player, you can’t see him stalling the horse:)??

Hippy Chick Says:

Genie was the only female player to get whitwashed,Wozniaki the only player thats won all her matches so far,wonder if Halep will beat Ivanovic to do the same?So Serena and Halep make the semis in one group,and Wozniaki tops the other group,who joins her though does anyone know?this format confuses me?….

Polo Says:

This conundrum underscores how flawed the round robin format is. How can anybody prove beyond reasonable doubt that somebody is throwing out a match?

FedExpress Says:

Serena Williams is in the semi finals aftergetting the help from Halep

halep didnt do and the other semifinalists a favour.

wont surprise me if serena wins the tournament now

Hippy Chick Says:

Polo exactly,im not saying its not an important tournament to win,but the format leaves me scratching my head,im not a fan of Wozniaki but thus far shes unbeaten,yet could still win more matches,and yet get to the final and lose to a player thats lost more matches overall,which IMO seems unfair,its rewarding negative tennis….

RZ Says:

Woz on a roll! She deserves to win in Singapore so I hope she does.

Polo Says:

I’ll wait until Serena beats Halep in the finals before I call her (Halep) dumb as a doorknob.

Wog boy Says:

Radwanska with only one win is in SF and Ana with two wins is out, not fair but it is what it is.
Biggest choke was Sharapova losing second set after beeing 5;2 and serving twice for the set and the match. If she won in strights Radwanska would be out and Sharapova would be in.

Colin Says:

Polo, why would it be dumb of Halep not to play the cards, as you put it? If I were her, I would not get any satisfaction from winning a tournament if I had cunningly avoided facing the best opposition.

The trouble with the principle you advocate is, it could be used to excuse a serious offence. If a player had access to a really good “pharmacist” and knew they would not be found out by testing, would they be dumb if they didn’t take the drug?

Polo Says:

Colin, go back and analyze your analogy so that you may realize how flawed it is. Clue: the “good pharmacist” argument.

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