WTA Finals RR: (1) Simona Halep vs (3) Maria Sharapova
The most anticipated match of the group stage at the WTA Finals in Singapore will take place on Tuesday evening when the top seeded Simona Halep comes up against former champion Maria Sharapova. Simona and Maria both made a winning start to the event on Sunday and can confirm a spot in the semi-finals with a victory on Tuesday. Simona Halep will be searching for her first career victory over Sharapova, given the form of the two players heading into the event this looks like the perfect opportunity for the Romanian to record her first win over the Russian.
Simona Halep made a perfect start in Singapore on Sunday, picking up a convincing 6-0 6-3 victory over Flavia Pennetta. The 2014 runner-up avenged her heartbreaking loss to the Italian at the semi-final stage of the U.S Open a couple of months ago. Simona was extremely solid, giving very little away from the baseline whilst drawing errors from her opponent. Simona’s serve was rarely threatened in a clinical display. The conditions in Singapore really seems to suit the Romanian, Simona mentioned after the match that she feels right at home in Singapore and it certainly shows.
Maria Sharapova made a surprisingly good start to her WTA Finals campaign on Sunday, claiming her first victory since Wimbledon courtesy of a 4-6 6-3 6-3 win over Agnieszka Radwanska. Sharapova’s level was typically erratic throughout the match but she ended hitting over 50 winners which would ultimately prove the difference.
Maria Sharapova holds a perfect 5-0 head-to-head record over Halep. The head-to-head record is a little deceiving because Simona has been more than competitive in the majority of their matches. The two played on three occasions last year, most notably in the final at Roland Garros where Sharapova won an extremely close three set match. The most recent match between the pair took place in Cincinnati last year, Sharapova won 3-6 6-4 6-4.
There is no doubt that Halep has the game to trouble Sharapova, especially on a dead court in Singapore. Simona Halep seems to love the conditions in Singapore and looks set to record her first career victory over Sharapova. This is a really important match for Simona psychologically, she will fully expect to win this match and could be damaged by another loss to the Russian. I think Simona will make a real statement in this match and cement her positon as the number 2 players in the world.