Singapore - Angelique
Kerber was presented with the end-of-year trophy as the world’s number
one player after all but booking her place in the knockout stage of the
WTA Finals with a clinical 6-4 6-2 win over Romania’s Simona Halep on
The 28-year-old was already assured of finishing 2016 at the top of
the rankings after Serena Williams withdrew from the WTA Finals with a
shoulder injury but it was officially recognised when she was handed the
trophy and a sparkling Tiffany ring.
Kerber, looking sharper and more focussed than she was in her opening
round-robin victory over Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova, was all smiles
after she posted a surprisingly lop-sided victory over the combative
Halep, who had looked in ominous touch during her opening match win over
American Madison Keys.
“I was feeling very well today. I think that I was moving good and I
was going for it when I had the chance. I think that was the key,”
“For me, I think it's always good when I start a tournament with tight and close matches where I get my confidence.”
A finalist at the end-of-season championship two years ago, Halep was
brimming with confidence ahead of her clash with Kerber but found the
lefthander too good on Singapore’s slow indoor hardcourts.
Kerber, electing to receive first, broke Halep’s opening service game
and despite later dropping her serve and falling 4-3 behind, the German
reeled off the last three games in a row to take the opening set after
just 43 minutes.
Kerber was even more dominant in the second set as Halep, one of the
best returners in the game, struggled to impose her own game on the
in-form German, who reached the top of the world rankings when she won
the US Open last month.
Two service breaks gave Kerber the advantage she needed and although
Halep saved the first two break points she faces with two spectacular
winners, it was too little late as Kerber wrapped up the win.
“I had the opportunity to get that first set. I was coming back very
well. But, maybe I didn't finish the important points,” Halep said.
“But she played a great tennis. She's very strong and on her legs she's moving great. She deserved to win.”
Despite winning her first two matches, Kerber still has a
mathematical chance of missing out on the semi-finals of the elite $7
million tournament after Keys beat Cibulkova 6-1 6-4 in Tuesday’s other
Red Group match.
“That was a little bit better than the first round,” said Keys. “I’m
definitely really happy with how I kind of turned things around."
Although she has lost her two opening matches, Cibulkova still has a
chance of advancing if she beats Halep in their final group match on
“It’s frustrating of course because I lost two matches that I wished I
could win, but I still have a third chance,” Cibulkova said.
“It's a big challenge for me. It’s my first time playing here. But I can still go into the semi-finals.”
Results from the WTA Finals tournament in Singapore on Tuesday (x denotes seeding):
Round-robin stage Red Group
Angelique Kerber (GER x1) bt Simona Halep (ROM x3) 6-4 6-2
Madison Keys (USA x6) bt Dominika Cibulkova (SVK x7) 6-1 6-4