The attention switched back to the red group on Wednesday with the two winners from Monday’s matches, Serena Williams and Simona Halep playing each other for the first time in 2014. The match produced one of the most surprising scorelines of the entire year as Halep defeated Williams, 6-0 6-2 in 65 minutes. It was a fabulous result and performance by Halep and her first ever win over a top 2 player… on the other hand, it certainly raises a series of questions surrounding Serena, who played a poor match.
Halep secured the 6-0 bagel set in just 20 minutes of play. Serena won just nine points in the first set… NINE POINTS! This was the eighth time that Serena has been bagelled (stat by @BenRothenberg on Twitter). In Madrid last year, Serena lost a 6-0 second set to Anabel Medina Garrigues before recovering to win in three sets. Even in her last tournament in Beijing, Serena was 5-0 down to Silvia Soler-Espinosa in her first match, before coming back to win the set, 7-5 and the match, 7-5 6-2. This time round in Singapore, she would not be able to recover.
It took Serena 38 minutes to win her first game of the match. The second set was closer, but Halep never lost grip of her lead and overcame any nerves to serve out the match at the first time of asking. Halep saved some of her best tennis for the big points; she was not broken once during this match, saving all six break points she faced in the second set. In fact, Halep’s serve hasn’t been broken at this tournament yet having saved two break points in her opening service game of the tournament against Eugenie Bouchard.
Both players finished the match with 11 winners, but the big difference was unforced errors with Serena hitting 36 unforced errors, 24 more than Halep.
In the second of the singles matches, Ana Ivanovic defeated Eugenie Bouchard, 6-1 6-3 to keep her hopes alive of qualifying for the semi-finals. The qualification situation for the red group is confusing to say the least; mathematically, all four players can still qualify, but realistically, Halep has pretty much qualified and Bouchard is out. On Thursday, the second set of matches from the white group kick off with Caroline Wozniacki against Agnieszka Radwanska at 1.30pm local time, followed by Maria Sharapova against Petra Kvitova. Serena and Genie will also play tomorrow in the late match at not before 7.30pm local time in Singapore.
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