(1) Serena Williams vs (4) Simona Halep
In Wednesday’s opening match at the 2014 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SCglobal, Monday’s victors Serena Williams and Simona Halep will square off with the winner guaranteed a place in the semi-finals. WTA fans have been waiting for this matchup to eventuate all season long, let’s hope the match lives up to expectations.
Serena began her title defence with a fierce performance to defeat Ana Ivanovic in straight sets 6-4 6-4. Serena seemed a little nervous at first but quickly found her rhythm to build a 4-1 lead in the opening set. Serena then became complacent and a momentary lapse in her level saw Ivanovic strike back to level the opening set at 4-4. Serena responded to the challenge well, remaining focused to take the opening set 6-4.
Ivanovic served much better in the second set, holding to love on three straight occasions. However the Serb was unable to handle the pressure of serving to stay in the match, Serena capitalising on Ana’s hesitance to claim victory in straight sets. Serena certainly wasn't at her best but her determination to win every single point was as high as ever, shown by her amazing effort to run down a drop shot midway through the second set and the enormous cry of 'come on' she let out after winning the point. It will take a mighty performance to defeat Serena when she is in this kind of mood.
Simona Halep also triumphed in her opening group stage match, winning the battle of the two WTA Finals debutants. Simona Halep proved too solid for an erratic Eugenie Bouchard, prevailing in straight sets 6-2 6-3. It was a solid performance by the Romanian who gave little away, forcing Genie to go for too much on numerous occasions. Genie ended up hitting 30 unforced errors compared to just 11 from the Romanian.
Simona wont be able to rely on as many gifts of Wednesday when she comes up against the world number 1 and two time defending champion, she will need to be as aggressive as possible and dramatically improve her first serve percentage which was only 49% on Monday evening.
Serena Williams has a perfect 3-0 record over Simona, however as previously mentioned this will be the first meeting between the pair in season 2014. This will also be the first match between the pair since Simona broke into the world’s top 10. Their most recent encounter took place in the quarter-finals of last years Western and Southern Open, Serena prevailed in straight sets 6-4 6-0.
Simona will have nothing to lose in this match and is capable of playing at a high enough level to really challenge Serena, however I suspect this will be a relatively comfortable straight sets victory for Serena.
Prediction: Serena Williams to defeat Simona Halep in 2 sets