There’s been no doubt of Serena Williams’ unwavering determination and unquenchable thirst for glory. At the Singapore Indoor Stadium during the prestigious WTA Finals, the 33-year-old proved it once again. Simona Halep had beaten the World No. 1 in the group stages. In the final, Serena made sure that she avenged that shock defeat and that too in style!
The American had not been in the best shape coming into the event. Bothered by a knee trouble and viral illness she had to opt out of two high-profile tournaments in the run-up to the WTA Finals.
In her second group match, the World No. 1 shockingly slumped to a 0-6, 2-6 loss at the hands of the feisty Halep. In the semi-finals also, the defending champion was just points away from exit.
Commanding performance from the World No. 1
But she is Serena Williams. Problem-solving is her asset and she exhibited it once again in the summit clash.
Displaying her trademark composure, Serena rebounded from a break down in the first set against Halep. Moving the World No. 4 Romanian around the court with an attacking approach, she clawed her way back from a 1-2 deficit. She broke the talented Romanian to go ahead 4-3 and from that point onwards there was no looking back for the 18-time Grand Slam champion.
After wrapping up the first set 6-3, the American was even more devastating in the second set. She didn’t leave any room for Halep who crumbled under pressure. After a 69 minute show of sheer brilliance, Serena conquered her fifth WTA Finals trophy with an impressive 6-3, 6-0 scoreline.
Recap of the group stages
The eight elite ladies – Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova, Simona Halep, Agnieszka Radwanska, Eugenie Bouchard, Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki – were divided into two groups.
Williams, Halep, Bouchard and Ivanovic were part of the Red Group.
1. Halep finished at the top of the Red Group. She had wins over Williams and Bouchard.
2. Williams finished at No. 2 in the group. She had wins over Bouchard and Ivanovic.
3. Ivanovic was No. 3 in the group stage with victories over Halep and Bouchard.
4. Bouchard finished last in this group with three losses.
Sharapova, Wozniacki, Kvitova and Radwanska were placed in the White Group.
1. Wozniacki finished at the top of the group and was the only unbeaten player in the group stages. She posted victories over each of Sharapova, Kvitova and Radwanska.
2. Radwanska finished second in this group. She had only one win over Kvitova and lost against Sharapova and Wozniacki.
3. Former champion Kvitova suffered two losses against Radwanska and Wozniacki. Her sole win came over Sharapova.
4. Another former winner Sharapova didn’t perform as expected. Finishing in the 4th place, she had her only win against Radwanska. The Russian lost against Wozniacki and Kvitova.
In the semi finals Serena came back from the brink to get the better of her friend, Caroline Wozniacki 2-6, 6-3, 7-6.
In the second semi-final, Halep routed Radwanska 6-2, 6-2.
There was delight for Indian tennis fans as Sania Mirza completed a dream debut in doubles. Sania and Cara Black won the doubles title with a thunderous 6-1, 6-0 defeat of the defending champions Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai in 59 minutes.
This was the Indian’s last match with the experienced Cara Black. There surely couldn’t have been a better way to sign off.
Tough road to the final
The Indo-Zimbabwean pair didn’t have it all easy en route to the title. They came back from the jaws of defeat twice to reach the final. In the semi-finals, they saved three match points to get past Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik, 4-6, 7-5, 11-9. Before that, they came through a tense quarter-final against Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears. Black and Mirza saved one match point to edge past the Americans 6-3, 2-6, 12-10.
Under-16 WTA Future Stars Event
In-form 16-year-old Karman Kaur Thandi defeated Hsiang-Wen Huang 6-4, 6-2 to win the WTA Future Stars Under-16 event. It was an unforgettable learning experience for the Delhi girl as she was not only presented the trophy by the retired 2-time Grand Slam champion Li Na but also got to hit with her.
As curtains come down on the WTA 2014 season, we look forward to the next season with eagerness to find out if Serena can continue with her determined run. Halep and Bouchard have shown a lot of promise this year. Can they cement their status in the big league?
It would also be amazing to see Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki replicate this rollicking form next year.
From the Indian point of view, it has been Sania Mirza’s best season so far. The Indian superstar has now set her sights on the World No. 1 doubles ranking. It would also be a pleasure to see her add a women’s Grand Slam doubles crown to her burgeoning resume.