Wozniacki swats aside Halep; Garcia outlasts Svitolina in Singapore

Reuters
The Dane is now virtually assured of a semifinals berth after losing just four games in two matches, while Halep lives to fight another day.
Reuters
Reuters

Caroline Garcia in action during her Red Group round-robin match against Ukraine's Elina Svitolina at the WTA Finals in Singapore on October 25, 2017. The Frenchwoman won 6-7 (7), 6-3, 7-5.

Caroline Wozniacki produced an almost perfect display to dismantle world No. 1 Simona Halep 6-0, 6-2 at the WTA Finals on Wednesday, the Dane recording her second dominant victory in as many matches.

Wozniacki had marked her fifth appearance at the season-ending tournament with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Ukraine's Elina Svitolina on Monday and Romania's Halep appeared equally as powerless against the 27-year-old former No. 1.

The Dane's victory margin assured her of a last-four berth after the loss of four games in two matches while Halep lives to fight another day with her opening straight-sets win over Caroline Garcia giving her a 1-1 record in the Red Group.

Frenchwoman Garcia recovered from her opening loss to rally past Svitolina with an epic 6-7 (7), 6-3, 7-5 victory in a night marathon, a result that leaves the other three women in the group all with a chance of joining Wozniacki in the semis.

Wozniacki has been the form player on the WTA Tour this season, winning 58 matches, reaching seven finals and claiming one tournament victory in Tokyo last month, and she has retained that consistency in both her wins in Singapore.

The rankings show Halep as the world leader and Wozniacki in sixth but the Romanian was utterly outclassed in the opener as her opponent raced through it in 23 minutes without dropping a game, on the back of a 94 percent first serve success rate.

"I think I played really well today and stayed aggressive throughout. I didn't expect to be leading by that much in the first set and I started to think 'what's happening? Am I really playing that well?'," Wozniacki said in a courtside interview.

Halep had been as much a spectator as the stunned crowd packed into the Singapore Indoor Stadium and although she tried to rouse herself after getting to 30-30 in the first game of the second set, Wozniacki held firm for a 1-0 lead.

The Dane, who was painting the corners on both her backhand and forehand sides, had won 17 games in a row across her last two matches before Halep finally got on the scoreboard after 34 minutes when she held to love.

The respite was fleeting, however, as Wozniacki continued to punish Halep's scrappy forehand to break once more for a 3-1 lead and an ace snuffed out the only break point the Dane would face all match as she moved within two games of victory.

Another poor forehand error handed Wozniacki a match point after a little more than an hour, which she duly converted with a forehand winner to cap an incredible display.

"I just stayed positive, took the ball early and went for my shots," the Dane added. "It's a great court for me as I was putting spin on the ball to get in position for my shots and wait for the right opportunities to hit my winners."

Wozniacki is one of seven players in the eight-woman field who could finish the year as world No. 1 by lifting the trophy on Sunday.

Reuters

Dane Caroline Wozniacki reacts after beating Romania's Simona Halep 6-2, 6-2 in their Red Group match at the WTA Finals in Singapore on October 25, 2017.

Meanwhile, US Open winner Sloane Stephens, compatriot CoCo Vandeweghe and double grand slam champion Angelique Kerber will headline the field at the WTA Elite Trophy, which will be played from October 31 to November 5 in Zhuhai, south China's Guangdong Province.

Stephens won her maiden grand slam title in August and reached the semifinals of the Rogers Cup and the Cincinnati Open while compatriot Vandeweghe won the Stanford Classic and reached the last four of the US and Australian Opens.

The line-up also features St Petersburg Trophy winner Kristina Mladenovic, Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who has won three titles this year, and Indian Wells champion Elena Vesnina.

"This signature event showcases top players along with up and coming stars, all joining together and celebrating their successes of the 2017 WTA season," WTA CEO and Chairman Steve Simon said.

The WTA Elite is a season-ending event that features both singles and doubles competitions. The 12 highest ranked women that did not qualify for the WTA Finals compete in the singles tournament for a total prize money of over US$2.2 million.

Chinese No. 1 Peng Shuai, who was beaten by Russian Maria Sharapova in the semifinals of the Tianjin Open, was handed the singles wildcard for the tournament.


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