WTA Finals: Williams back to her best, Sharapova suffers second straight defeat
One day after suffering her heaviest defeat since she was a teenager, Serena Williams was back to her brilliant best as she swatted aside Eugenie Bouchard 6-1 6-1 in her final round robin match at the WTA Finals on Thursday.
The world number one was humiliated 6-0 6-2 by Romania’s Simona Halep on Singapore’s purple hard court on Wednesday but put herself on the brink of a semi-finals berth with the crushing victory over her hapless Canadian opponent.
Williams appeared lethargic and lacking motivation in her defeat against the feisty counter-puncher Halep but made sure there would be no repeat of her “embarrassing” loss against the youngest player in the elite eight-woman field.
The 33-year-old forced three break points immediately and while Bouchard battled back to win a game that ensured Halep advanced to the semi-finals, Williams exuded focus and aggression as she set about dismantling her opponent.
“Yesterday was tough for me but I had to put that behind me and my coach really helped me out to recover from that,” Williams said in a courtside interview.
“He told me I needed to focus on today and that I was still in the tournament. I actually felt like I was out of the tournament so it was good advice.”
Eugenie Bouchard reacts after losing a point to Williams.
Williams gave the 20-year-old a tennis lesson she would not forget over the course of the 59-minute thumping, breaking the Canadian’s serve at will to race through the next 11 games to move 6-1 5-0 ahead in what seemed like the blink of an eye.
Kvitova ends three-year losing streak against Sharapova
With the win, Williams also remains on course to hold on to her number one ranking with her only rival, Maria Sharapova, facing an early exit from the tournament after the Russian lost her second straight contest earlier on Thursday.
It was a comprehensive defeat for the Russian, who had won her last five matches against the left-handed Kvitova, dating back over three years.
"I didn’t feel as sharp as I did in the previous matches against her," Sharapova said. "She countered my shots extremely well and I was just never ready for the next ball. That made it quite difficult for me."
Kvitova acknowledges audience after defeating Sharapova. PHOTOS: Reuters
The 27-year-old Sharapova looked weary at times against Kvitova but rejected the notion she was tired after her three and a quarter hour loss to Caroline Wozniacki in her previous match.
"It’s easy to sit here and say, yeah, I’m tired. I lost two matches," said Sharapova. "But that’s not the way I feel or the way that I choose to speak. I still have a match ahead of me, and I will do my best to finish it on a good note. "That’s the only thing I can ask of myself."
For Kvitova, it was a win that revived her hopes of winning her second WTA Finals title.
The 24-year-old lost her opening match to Agnieszka Radwanska but can still make the semi-finals if she wins her final group match against Wozniacki on Friday.
“I was really disappointed when I lost against Aga. It was a match probably I really didn’t know what I was doing. I was so tired and sick of the tennis for the moment,” she said. “So I didn’t practice today at all and I just really relaxed and cleaned my mind a little bit."