Serena Williams, the world No. 1 on the WTA tour, has re-asserted herself at the WTA Finals by beating Eugenie Bouchard 6-1. 6-1. She dropped the same number of games as she won the previous day when Halep, in Williams’ own words, “embarrassed” her.
Serena’s fight back from her previous day’s defeat made it harder for Sharapova to replace her at the top of the rankings. The Russian did not help herself either as she fell to Petra Kvitova.
Serena Williams losing 0-6, 2-6 is not a factor Williams often has to deal with. And when she did have to deal with that after her defeat by that scoreline to Romanian Simona Halep, she did not deal with it well. In fact, without the words of her coach Patric Mouratoglou, the world No. 1 says she might not have dealt with it at all.
After the 6-1, 6-1 victory over Elena Bouchard, the top seed told the press she thought she might not be able to come back the next day after the Halep loss and play. Luckily for her, her coach Mouratoglou, thought she could and was not shy about telling her.
Mouratoglou did a good job. After her display against Bouchard, Williams will feel much more like getting out of bed tomorrow. The world No. 1 played like one in a performance in which she hit 16 winners, one at over 200 kmh. The American said she had no idea how fast she had hit that ball, back to surprising herself, rather than being shocked as she was against Halep.
Williams will not want any more shocks the rest of the tournament as her WTA World No. 1 ranking is on the line. The 18 time grand slam champion was helped a little by Petra Kvitova who beat Williams’ challenger to the top of the rankings Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-2. That win was something of a surprise, too, as Kvitova had not beaten the reigning French Open champion the last five matches they played.
Sharapova’s hopes, however, are not completely dashed. The Russian is 0-2 in her group but could still qualify and go on to win the tournament. For Sharapova to get that opportunity and reach the semi-finals she needs to beat Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets as well as for Wozniacki to win in straight sets over Kvitova. Sharapova’s chances of beating Radwanska are good- she leads their head to head 10-2. That match could also kick start her into form if their last encounter at the WTA finals in Istanbul in 2012 are anything to go by. Sharapova won that match in a final set tiebreak
In the semi-final, Sharapova would at least avoid Williams who has beaten her the last 14 times they over played since the Australian Open 2005. Instead, she would play Halep against whom she has a 5-0 head to head lead and something of a mental hold over after winning their last three matches in three sets and two of them after being a set down.
She would then need to face any opponent other than Williams in the final and go on to win the tournament. The chances of Williams not reaching the final if she makes the last four are slim. If Wozniacki does beat Kvitova in straights, Williams would face Wozniacki, whom she has beaten 9 times and lost once, and has three wins over in the last three months.
Commentary by Christian Deverille.