8 Femmes (Previewing the 2014 WTA Championships)

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October 20, 2014 by Parveer Mann

The WTA makes its latest and possibly biggest splash in Asia this week when the WTA’s elite descend on Singapore for the first time. After three successful years in Istanbul, the WTA has sacrificed secure surroundings to strategically move to a rich city-state hoping to continue to entrench their sport and brand in the populous region. Despite the risk of a new host, the WTA must be thrilled with who’s here at their annual showcase as these eight women represent the best tennis has to offer.

You have the megastars (Serena and Maria, who returns after missing last year with an injury), the new wave (Simona and Genie), stalwarts (Petra and Aga) and two returning fan favourites (Ana and Caro). Now if only the group can overcome those lingering injuries and inconsistencies that riddled the Asian swing, Singapore and all of us should be in for a great week of tennis.

Red Group

[1] Serena Williams (H2H: vs. Halep 3-0, vs. Bouchard 1-0, vs. Ivanovic 7-1)

[4] Simona Halep (H2H: vs. Williams 0-3, vs. Bouchard 1-1, vs. Ivanovic 2-1)

[5] Eugenie Bouchard (H2H: vs. Williams 0-1, vs. Halep 1-1, vs. Ivanovic 2-0)

[7] Ana Ivanovic (H2H: vs. Williams 1-7, vs. Halep 1-2, vs. Bouchard 0-2)

In my opinion, the biggest unknown entering the WTA finals is the how healthy Simona Halep is and if she can apply that pesky style that has led to incredible success these past 18 months in a tough Red group. She had to withdraw in Beijing before a matchup with Ivanovic and has really been dealing with injury issues since Wimbledon. If she’s healthy not to mention Genie and Serena’s health, this group could be very competitive.

I’ll take Serena to advance first in this group and going with experience, I like Ana Ivanovic to barely edge out the newcomer Genie Bouchard as the number two player in this group.

White Group

[2] Maria Sharapova (H2H: vs. Kvitova 6-2, vs. Radwanska 10-2, vs. Wozniacki 5-3)

[3] Petra Kvitova (H2H: vs. Sharapova 2-6, vs. Radwanska 5-1, vs. Wozniacki 4-4)

[6] Agnieszka Radwanska (H2H: vs. Sharapova 2-10, vs. Kvitova 1-5, vs. Wozniacki 4-6)

[8] Caroline Wozniacki (H2H: vs. Sharapova 3-5, vs. Kvitova 4-4, vs. Radwanska 6-4)

This group is headlined by the two players who enjoyed the most success during this year’s Asian Swing, Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova, winning Beijing and Wuhan respectively. Both have played uncharacteristically well to end the season after previous years when their results were affected by injuries or general fatigue.  For Maria Sharapova, there is still extra motivation as she still has the  opportunity to finish year-end no.1 if she can outlast Serena here in Singapore.

I feel the opening match between Maria and Caroline on Tuesday evening will set the tone on how this group will ultimately shake it out but I have a hard time ignoring Maria’s success against the other three women in this group. But, I’m going on instinct and predicting Petra wins this group and Maria finishes second to set up a matchup with Serena Williams in the semifinals.

Semifinals

[1] Serena Williams over [2] Maria Sharapova

[3] Petra Kvitova over [7] Ana Ivanovic

Final

[1] Serena Williams over [3] Petra Kvitova

I don’t envision it being easy and I can easily see Maria or Petra pushing Serena to three sets but Serena seems to rise against the best. She hasn’t lost a match at this event in her last three tries and I think she’ll try her best to extend that mark and walk away with another title.

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