What’s the saying, Revenge is a dish best served in the finals? For Serena Williams that’s how it played out during the WTA Finals in Singapore this week.
Newcomer Simona Halep slammed Serena 6-0, 6-2 on Wednesday handing the World No. 1 one of her most embarrassing losses. With Serena’s semifinal fate squarely on Halep’s racquet Friday, the Romanian chose not to go down in straights to Ivanovic, which would have eliminated Serena. Instead, Halep played Ivanovic tough, taking a set that gave Serena weekend life.
Afterward, Halep declared she wasn’t afraid of beating Serena. Well, Serena clearly wasn’t afraid of Simona either, because today the 18-time Slam champion overcame a slow start to have her revenge thrashing Halep 6-3, 6-0.
“She was playing so well at the beginning and I told myself to just relax and once I did that I started playing better and making my shots,” Serena said.
“I lost to her a couple of days ago so I knew she was capable of playing really well, but I knew I had to play better if I wanted to win. I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to play here and now I’ve won the Billie Jean King Trophy again – it’s an amazing feeling.”
Halep actually played the first 20 minutes toe-to-toe with Serena, and actually led with a break 2-1. But eventually Serena got into gear once she got up a break on Halep the match was effectively over.
Afterward, Halep learned a harsh lesson: A Serena in round-robin play is different than the one who plays on finals day.
“She was more motivated and more focused maybe this match,” Halep said. “She tried to hit the balls very strong. Like I said before, every day is a new day; it’s a different day. So we saw today that it was a different day.
“I was nervous before the match that I have to play this big final,” Halep continued. “I couldn’t manage the situation very well. Still I played a good first set. The second one wasn’t too good, but she played really well and she was hitting the balls very strong. Everything went well for her today.”
As for Halep’s decision on Friday, I respect that she wanted to give it her all and give her credit for that, but in such a situation you have to know better. When you have a chance to eliminate a No. 1 from a tournament you have to do it.
Serena’s 3rd straight WTA Finals title caps off a fourth year-end No. 1 finish. The 33-year-old ends with seven titles on the year and a 12-1 record against Top 10 players!
She’ll now have a full two months off to ready for 2015 and the landscape of women’s tennis right now doesn’t offer much in the way of opposition.
Maria Sharapova is aging. Victoria Azarenka seems out of sorts. Li Na has retired. Maybe Petra Kvitova can live up to her potential. Caroline Wozniacki seems to be on the rebound, but is she really a threat? So Simona could be that main rival next year for Serena. And a year from now, who knows it could be Halep holding the top honors. That wouldn’t surprise me.
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