First-time WTA Finals combatant Madison Keys kept her hopes alive Tuesday in Singapore, powering past Dominika Cibulkova 6-1, 6-4 to improve her record to 1-1 in round robin play at the WTA year-end event.
The American’s bruising forehand was to much for the 5-foot-4 Cibulkova, as was the serve which saw Cibulkova win only four points against in the opening set.
“It makes it a little more comfortable when you’re not facing break points, and you’re able to get those games,” Keys said of steamrolling ahead in the match. “That gives me the ability to focus a little more on the return, and trying to take advantage when I get break points.”
Keys will advance into the semifinals with a straight-set win over her next opponent, world No. 1 Angie Kerber, but any other result with throw the round robin results into mathematic determinations. For Cibulkova to advance she will need to win her final round robin match in straight sets then hope for win-loss and sets ties to be determined in her favor. It will be an uphill battle for Keys, who is 1-5 lifetime against Kerber.
Kerber in her round robin match on Tuesday took apart Simona Halep 6-4, 6-2, to improve to 2-0 in round robin play.
“I’m feeling very good here,” Kerber said afterwards. “I’m really enjoying being back here on the center court and playing my best tennis…I try every time I step on court to give my best. Of course every match here is tough — it’s the best eight players in the world — and I’m just trying to focus on my game.”
Halep is not a fan of the court in Singapore after the straight-set loss, nor of bending her knees, falling to 1-1 in round robin play.
“The court here is slow and the ball doesn’t bounce,” Halep said. “Her balls are very low, so it’s tough to go from down, deep down, to make a winner.”
Kerber needs just a set off Keys in her next match to be guaranteed a place in the semifinals.
On court Wednesday in Singapore will be the resurgent (8) Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. US Open finalist (4) Karolina Pliskova, and (2) Aggie Radwanska vs. the struggling French Open winner (5) Garbine Muguruza.
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