Williams shows her class
American sees off Muguruza to book last-four spot in WTA Finals
The odds did not favour Venus Williams last night.
But the American world No. 5 showed her class and pulled off a 7-5, 6-4 win over world No. 2 Garbine Muguruza of Spain to book a spot in the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
Both players went into the match knowing only a win in their last White Group match at the Singapore Indoor Stadium would see them through.
Williams had faced Muguruza twice this year but lost both times, including July's Wimbledon final.
It didn't help that the 37-year-old had soldiered through an epic 3hr 13min win over Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko only 48 hours earlier.
But, it was clear Williams was hell-bent on making sure her perfect record of reaching the semi-finals of the WTA Finals remains intact.
Before last night, she had made the semi-finals four times, reaching the final on two occasions (2008 and 2009) and winning in 2008.
In important moments, she stepped up and turned it around.Garbine Muguruza
Asked if the win was sweet revenge for the Wimbledon loss, Williams replied, in typically aloof fashion: "No, not at all."
And when asked if her marathon match with Ostapenko affected her display yesterday, Williams said she was already looking ahead.
"I'm just pretty much focused on Saturday (for the semi-finals) where I'll try to win again... I don't know."
A tense first set saw a ding-dong battle between Williams and Muguruza, and it began to feel as though another drawn-out match was on the cards.
The American eventually edged the first set in 55 minutes.
With her coach Sam Sumyk in her ear between sets, Muguruza emerged for the second set looking more aggressive.
The Spaniard managed to surge to a 3-1 lead, only for Williams to peg her back to 3-3.
Muguruza then went ahead 4-3, before Williams discovered a second wind to win three consecutive games to see off the match in 101 minutes.
Said Muguruza: "I think (Williams) played very well in important moments, and I made mistakes that I shouldn't.
"I was trying not to get frustrated, because I knew I wasn't playing my best tennis.
"I was just trying to... wait for my opportunity, but it didn't come. And in important moments, she stepped up and turned it around."
With the win, Williams joined Karolina Pliskova as the two players to progress from the White Group.
Pliskova was beaten 6-3, 6-1 by already-eliminated Ostapenko yesterday, but had booked her place in the final-four prior to the match, after beating Muguruza and Williams earlier.
In the Red Group, there is still all to play for today.
Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki, the only player from the group to have booked a spot in the final four, plays France's Caroline Garcia.
World No. 1 Simona Halep of Romania faces Ukraine's No. 4 Elina Svitolina.