10/25 07:51 CDT Serena Williams beats Wozniacki to reach WTA final
Serena Williams beats Wozniacki to reach WTA final
AP Sports Writer
SINGAPORE (AP) --- Serena Williams will get a chance to avenge a humiliating
loss against Simona Halep after they both advanced to the championship match of
the season-ending WTA Finals with victories in contrasting style on Saturday.
Williams beat Caroline Wozniacki in a thrilling contest 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6) to
remain on course for a third-straight title, while Halep swept aside Agnieszka
Radwanska 6-2, 6-2 to put herself in a position for the biggest title of her
Halep beat Williams 6-0, 6-2 in the group stage, inflicting the American's
heaviest loss in 16 years, and the Romanian has been the form player of the
tournament, dropping only 27 games across four matches against top-eight-ranked
Wozniacki served for the match at 5-4 in the third set, but Williams broke back
and prevailed in the tiebreaker on her third match point after trailing 4-1.
It was a bittersweet win for Williams, who has developed a close off-court
friendship with Wozniacki. The pair attended a Mariah Carey concert together on
the eve of their semifinal.
"It was the first match I didn't feel great --- if you take (sister) Venus out
of the equation --- where I wasn't happy after I won," Williams said.
"I really wanted to cry because Caro is so nice, we get along and we do so much
together. She's like my little baby sister, from a different mother, and
father, and different country."
Wozniacki reciprocated the affection, but being on the losing end of a 10-1
career record against the American meant she wanted to see less of the world
"I told Serena 'Can you just leave me alone? I love you, but stay away from the
other side of the court. Quite frankly I'm sick of losing to you," Wozniacki
Twice before this year, Williams had to come back from a set down to beat the
Dane and she again made a slow start, taking only three points off Wozniacki's
serve in the opening set and the frustration showed. After the seventh game,
she repeatedly smashed her racket into the court, bringing a warning from the
"I don't know how many times I hit it but, boy, that racket will never do me
wrong again I tell you," Williams said. "It was definitely legendary. I kind of
lost my cool a little bit."
Wozniacki, who had a perfect 3-0 record in the group stage, took the opening
set in 26 minutes and held serve to open the second.
"I really thought she was going to win because she was playing so well,"
Williams said. "She had a whole new strategy. I finally was able to kind of
figure it out in the second and then I just was able to play better."
"It clicked today. I thought 'Ha! I got you now.'"
The momentum had shifted and, three games later, Williams created her first
break points of the match, converting to take a grip on the set, which ended on
Wozniacki's double fault.
The third set went on serve until the ninth game when Wozniacki made the first
break. She served for the match, but fell behind 0-30 and though she saved one
break point, she couldn't save the second.
Williams survived one break point on her serve to go up 6-5. Wozniacki then
held serve under intense pressure in the 12th game, saving one match point in a
She started the tiebreaker confidently, but the relentless Williams wore her
down with powerful serves and groundstrokes.
"Being so close and still losing, it really sucks," Wozniacki said. "It was
just small things, but that is why champions are champions. All of them step up
when it matters."
Halep won five straight games in the first set to quickly assume a grip on the
match that she never relinquished.
Halep, who said "everything went perfect today," compared her current form
favorably against that which saw her reach the French Open this year in her
first Grand Slam final appearance.
"I am very close to that level, maybe better," Halep said.
Radwanska took only four points off Halep's first serve for the match, which
was over in just 67 minutes.
"She was very solid from the beginning," Radwanska said of Halep's performance.
"No mistakes. Everything coming back. Changing line. Deep balls. Serving very
well. Everything was working for her today."
The irony of Sunday's final is that Williams only qualified for the semifinals
because Halep dropped a set in her final group match against Ana Ivanovic. Had
the already-qualified Halep won that match in straight sets, Ivanovic would
have made the semifinals at Williams' expense.