Romania’s Simona Halep kicked off her campaign for a maiden WTA Finals title in emphatic fashion with a thumping 6-0, 6-3 victory over US Open champion Flavia Pennetta in the first match of the eight-woman season-ending tournament on Sunday.
While the opener proved to be a sprint, the second ‘Red Group’ tie was a marathon when Maria Sharapova beat Agnieszka Radwanska 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a full-blooded encounter marked by several swings in momentum as both players struggled on serve.
World number two Halep is the highest ranked player in the field after Serena Williams, who has won the tournament for the last three years, withdrew citing the need to rest after a year spent carrying injuries in her quest for a calendar Grand Slam.
Halep crushed Serena in round robin play a year ago before losing to the American in the final and her love for the Singapore hard court was evident in a first set she wrapped up in 26 minutes.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2015.
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