Kerber feeling comfortable at last
World No. 1 dominates Halep in second set and seems set for semis
The Lion City has previously not been a happy hunting ground for Angelique Kerber.
But things are looking up this week.
Last night, she took a big step towards the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global after a confident display saw her cruise to a 6-4, 6-2 win over Simona Halep.
Having failed to reach the semi-finals in three previous appearances at the WTA Finals, Kerber now needs to win only one set in her final Red Group tie against Madison Keys tomorrow to seal her progress.
The current world No. 1 found herself in a similar situation last year, only to be eliminated following a straight-set defeat by Lucie Safarova.
Her bad memories of Singapore appear to be on the brink of being banished, as she expressed how much she has been enjoying her time here.
Asked by The New Paper what has been different this time around, she replied: "I think a lot has changed.
"First of all, I'm here as No. 1, so that has changed… I'm really enjoying this year playing on this court with the fans.
"It's a new situation, so it's a new challenge for me as well. I'm always trying to improve my game but I'm just really, really trying to enjoy this a little bit more than last year."
All in all, it was an excellent outing for her as she was also officially crowned the WTA's year-end No. 1 with a trophy presentation, becoming only the 12th player to claim the achievement.
HUFFED AND PUFFED
After toiling to a three-set win over Dominika Cibulkova in her opener on Sunday, another struggle appeared on the cards as she huffed and puffed before claiming the first set 6-4 over the world No. 4 Halep.
But, in a real show of dominance, the 28-year-old took it up another notch in the second set and her Romanian opponent just had no answer.
"It's always tough to play against Simona (but) I think I was moving good and I was going for it when I had the chance," added Kerber.
"I have much more confidence right now because I know how to win very big, tight matches and I believe much more in my game than 12 months ago, especially after Singapore a year ago."
Despite the loss, Halep remains in with a shout of making the last four for the second time after reaching the final in her 2014 debut.
A straight-set triumph over Cibulkova tomorrow will seal her berth in the semis, although she could be eliminated if she drops a set and Keys beats Kerber in two.
Regardless, Halep acknowledges she will have to produce a far more polished display in order to stand a chance.
"Yeah," was the visibly dissatisfied 25-year-old's monosyllabic reply, after being asked if it had just been a bad day at the office.
Later, she elaborated: "Maybe I didn't finish the important points and I missed a lot today with my forehand. She (Kerber) deserved to win, so I take it and I'm looking forward to continue in this tournament.
"(Against Cibulkova,) I have to be aggressive, do my style, and just be there for every point."
I’m really enjoying this year playing on this court with the fans.
— Angelique Kerber