WTA Finals RR: (1) Simona Halep vs (5) Agnieszka Radwanska
Thursday’s first match from the red group will see Simona Halep take to the court against Agnieszka Radwanska. Simona and Aga both lost their second group matches but both remain a chance to advance to the semi-final stage in Singapore.
Simona Halep can secure her spot in the semi-finals with a straight set victory over Radwanska and will also advance to the semi-finals if she wins in 3 sets unless Flavia Pennetta defeats Maria Sharapova in straight sets. Radwanska will need to defeat Halep in straight sets and rely on Sharapova to defeat Pennetta in straight sets in order to sneak into the semi-finals for a second year in a row.
Simona Halep made a great start in Singapore, defeating Flavia Pennetta 6-0 6-3. The Romanian seemed well placed heading into her match with Maria Sharapova on Tuesday, however Simona would suffer her 6th consecutive loss to the Russian with 4-6 4-6 loss. The match was played at a high level, but it was Sharapova who played best when it mattered most, breaking Simona Halep at 4-5 in each set. Halep is still alive in Singapore and may get a shot at redemption against Sharapova later in the week, Halep has a great recent record against Radwanska and will be confident heading into her final group match.
After playing so much tennis during the Asian swing, Aga seems to have run out of gas in Singapore. Radwanska was the form player in the red group heading into Singapore, however the Pole has slumped to 0-2 courtesy of losses to Maria Sharapova and Flavia Pennetta. Despite losing her first 2 matches, Radwanska hasn’t actually played that poorly. Radwanska had her chances against Sharapova, winning more points in the deciding third set but ultimately lost 6-4 3-6 4-6. Aga seemed to be in control of her match with Pennetta, but the Italian significantly raised her level towards the end of the first set and eventually recorded a 7-6 6-4 victory over the Pole.
The head-to-head record between Simona and Aga is split at 4 wins apiece. However Simona has had the better of Radwanska in recent times, winning 4 of their last 5 encounters including their 2 most recent matches. Halep thrashed Radwanska 6-2 6-2 at the semi-final stage in Singapore last year and recorded a 0-6 6-3 6-1 win over the Pole in Toronto this year in their most recent clash.
I expect Simona to continue her recent dominance of Radwanska on Thursday. This is not a good match-up for Aga, Halep’s defensive skills are just as good as Aga’s but Simona’s attacking weapons are far greater. The courts in Singapore give Halep an even greater advantage, which was evident in their match last year. Simona should win this comfortably.