Halep thumped by Wozniacki
World No. 1 needs to win last group tie to prevent early exit at WTA Finals
Coming into this year's BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, world No. 1 Simona Halep held the distinction of qualifying for the Finals four years on the trot - the longest streak among the active players.
But, the 26-year-old is now facing the prospect of exiting the prestigious US$7 million (S$9.52m) tournament at the Singapore Indoor Stadium at the group stages for the third time in four seasons.
In a Red Group encounter last night, the Romanian was thrashed 6-0, 6-2 in 63 minutes by former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki.
Both players came into last night's match with a win under their belts, and were looking for another to cement their passage into the semi-finals.
But Wozniacki gave Halep no quarter at all - the Dane broke Halep five times in eight attempts, hitting two aces and nine winners, and saved the lone break point she faced.
After making 17 unforced errors in 14 games, Halep cut a frustrated figure after the match.
"I think it was one of my bad days. I made too many mistakes and she didn't miss," said Halep, who finished runner-up to Serena Williams in 2014, but exited the competition in the group stages with a 1-2 win-loss record in the last two years.
"In the second set, I felt that I could come back at 4-2 (down). But it was too late."
While she gave her opponent credit for the win, Halep felt her lapses explained the lop-sided result.
Halep said: "She's a very tough opponent, but I didn't feel that she did everything on court because she didn't make many winners.
I think it was one of my bad days. I made too many mistakes and she didn't miss.Simona Halep
"I knew that her game is just to keep playing, and to put you in a difficult position.
"I didn't feel the ball (tonight)... I felt a little bit heavier on court. I felt everything was slow, and I wanted to overhit the ball.
"I missed too many shots today."
World No. 6 Wozniacki, who thrashed Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-0 on Monday, booked her place in the knockout rounds with her win.
She said: "I thought I played really well out there... I just ran a lot of balls down and I played aggressive and I mixed up the pace, and everything that I wanted to do kind of was going my way.
"The other match and this match today, I played on a really high level. It must have been really frustrating for the other girls."
Halep will play Svitolina, who lost 7-6(9/7), 3-6, 5-7 to Caroline Garcia, in the other Red Group tie last night, in her final group game tomorrow.
On her chances of progressing to the semi-finals, Halep said: "I'm not thinking about qualification. I'm thinking about playing better than today, definitely.
"Every time I go on court, I just want to be better than I had been a day or two ago.
"So everything I have in my head now is just to shake this (loss) off, and just play better the next round."
- 1.30pm: Timea Babos/Andrea Hlavackova (x3) v Andreja Klepac/Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez
- Not before 4pm: Karolina Pliskova (x3) v Jelena Ostapenko (x7)
- Not before 7.30pm: Garbine Muguruza (x2) v Venus Williams (x5)
- Followed by: Chan Yung-Jan/Martina Hingis (x1) v Anna-Lena Groenefeld/Kveta Peschke
WTA chief keen on Singapore to host Finals beyond 2018
The host city of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Finals in 2019 and beyond will be known next April, WTA chief executive officer Steve Simon said in a season-ending press conference at the Singapore Indoor Stadium yesterday.
Six cities have shown interest in hosting the year-end women's tennis shindig, which features the world's top eight singles and doubles players.
Among the four cities which have already submitted their proposals are Manchester (England), Prague (Czech Republic), St Petersburg (Russia) and Shenzhen (China).
Simon said: "We plan to, at our year-end meetings, to look at the bids that we have received for 2019, and we are targeted to make our announcement for 2019 and beyond in April."
He added that WTA will sit down with the Singapore organisers after ongoing BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, which ends on Sunday.
Singapore first hosted the Finals in 2014, and its five-year deal with WTA ends with next year's edition.
Simon said: "We also have had a very good stay here, and I'm very happy and I love the city of Singapore. They have done a great job with the event.
"We have said all along that we'd be very interested in discussing an extension."
WTA president Micky Lawler added that there are pros and cons with every city, including Singapore, and her team will be working "night and day for the next several weeks" to assess them.
Of Singapore, she said: "Singapore offers a lot of what we are looking for to continue. Singapore is a global capital, cosmopolitan, very international.
"It's a business hub. The people are fantastic. The fans are fantastic.
"The event has become better and better each year. The audience in Singapore is very demanding and used to big and great premium events. Formula One can attest to that.
"So what we are looking is to keep growing, to keep becoming better, and to integrate all of the new initiatives that we have launched.
"And to keep providing growth and return to our partners and ultimately to provide a great sports and entertainment experience to our visitors, our fans on television, and to a global audience." - LIM SAY HENG