Sigapore | Venus fights back to claim final slot
Venus Williams proved yet again that she is still a force to be reckoned with when she overcame Caroline Garcia in three sets to secure her spot in the final of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
The oldest player in the eight-woman draw, Venus overturned the loss of a marathon opening set to secure her victory, 6-7(3) 6-2 6-3, in a shade under two and a half hours play.
The win puts the 37-year-old in Sunday’s final against 27-year-old Caroline Wozniacki, meaning the two oldest players in the field have made it into the final.
Garcia started out the match in good form, taking the first two games, but she left an opening for Williams with some careless play and the evergreen American took advantage, breaking back to level at 2-2.
It is hard to produce your best tennis at the end of the year because you’ve given so much. Nothing is easy. It’s amazing to almost be in the winner’s circleVenus Williams
Later in the set Williams survived a set point and took advantage of Garcia’s inconsistencies to force the tiebreak, in which the Frenchwoman got off to a hot start, winning the first three points with the help of consecutive double faults from the American.
Seizing the initiative, the World No 8 capitalised to win the first set lasting 65 minutes.
Williams looked to be in grave trouble when she faced two break points in the first game of the second set but she fought back to hold serve and then broke Garcia in the next game.
Garcia could not carry on the momentum into the second set, and lost the first three games to Williams.
Venus’ trademark serve and her powerful groundstrokes started dictating and it all proved to be a bridge too far for Garcia, who failed to threaten in the second.
After an even start in the third, Williams stepped up the pace and Garcia was not able to go with her as her serve got broken for 5-3 and the American served it out for the win.
Williams punched the air as Garcia fluffed her lines on match point, handing the veteran victory.
“Every time I thought I was close, she [Garcia] would play amazing,” Williams said after the match.
“It is hard to produce your best tennis at the end of the year because you’ve given so much. Nothing is easy. It’s amazing to almost be in the winner’s circle.”
This will be William’s third final of the WTA year-end Championships, her first since 2009, and the seven-time Grand Slam winner will be the oldest finalist in WTA Finals history when she plays Wozniacki.
Even though she had a stellar season reaching two Grand Slam finals, the World No 5 will be seeking her first title of the year.
Venus has won the WTA Finals once in her career, beating Vera Zvonareva in 2008, and a year later her sister Serena took her down in the title match.
Now she will have a chance to lift the trophy again tomorrow against Caroline Wozniacki, who earlier beat Karolina Pliskova 7-6(9) 6-3 in the other semi-final.
The result means that Simona Halep has earned the 2017 WTA Year-End World No 1 singles ranking, presented by Dubai Duty Free.
Since the inception of computer rankings in 1975, Halep becomes the 13th WTA player to achieve the year-end No 1 singles ranking, and the first from Romania.
The Romanian became the 25th player to achieve the No 1 ranking on 9th October, 2017 following her 27th career WTA final at the China Open in Beijing, and is ensured to retain the position as the top player for the rest of the year.
Halep has enjoyed another consistent season, highlighted by defending her title at the Mutua Madrid Open and reaching her second Grand Slam final at Roland Garros.
In addition, the 26-year-old reached the title match at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome), Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati and the China Open in Beijing, earning her a fourth consecutive qualification at the year-end BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
At 196 weeks, Halep holds the longest active streak inside the WTA Top 10.
She entered the elite 10 for the first time on 24th January, 2014, and has held the position ever since.
Having made her debut in the Top 5 in the spring of 2014, the Romanian has spent just nine weeks below that threshold.
As for Pliskova, who needed to lift the trophy on Sunday to overtake Simona Halep in the rankings, she said she would not stew over missing out on the top ranking: “I’m absolutely fine with that. This is the last thing that I’m thinking about now…”