(1) Serena Williams vs (5) Eugenie Bouchard
The third and final match on Thursday features two off Wednesday’s biggest losers, Serena Williams and Eugenie Boucahrd. Serena Williams was a shadow of her usual self in shock 0-6 2-6 defeat to Simona Halep whilst Bouchard was also some distance of her best in a disappointing straight sets loss to Ana Ivanovic.
After a spirited first up victory over Ana Ivanovic on Monday, the signs were all good for Serena heading into this match. However Serena came out looking lethargic and couldn't find any rhythm in her serve or groundstrokes. Serena handed the first set to Simona Halep, hitting 18 unforced errors including numerous double faults. Serena did manage to raise her level in the second set, however it still wasn't good enough to challenge the Romanian. Serena was uncharacteristically unable to capitalize on any of her 6 break points chances throughout the match, the world number 1 had a break point chance in each of Simona’s service games in the second set.
Eugenie Bouchard has been the biggest disappointment this week. Two consecutive straight set loses mean that Genie will not progress out of the group stage in Singapore. Bouchard’s movement was a real problem in her 1-6 3-6 loss to Ana Ivanovic, Bouchard was not timing the ball well at all and struggled to get her first serve into play. Bouchard was clearly frustrated by her performance, at the conclusion of the first set Genie asked her coach ‘why am I playing this tournament if I’m not prepared?’ After such a great season, it must be frustrating for the Canadian, knowing that she is unable to compete at her best in her first WTA Finals appearance.
These two have met on just one previous occasion. Serena was forced to come from a set down in Cincinnati last year, eventually prevailing 4-6 6-2 6-2. Both Genie and Serena played so uncharacteristically poorly yesterday, it’s hard to know what to expect from this match.
One of the biggest factors could be that Serena actually has something to play for, a victory will likely see her progress through the group stage. After such a poor performance against Halep, one would expect Serena to come out firing on Thursday; it’s highly unlikely she will perform that poorly two matches in a row.
Prediction: Serena Williams to defeat Eugenie Bouchard in 3 sets