The WTA Finals have finally started, and it is still unclear which player has the best chance to lift the trophy.
Of course, if Serena Williams did not have a shock loss to Roberta Vinci in the US Open and consequently withdraw from all competitive tennis this year, there would have been no question of her winning the WTA Finals in Singapore. But she’s not playing, and that makes it much more interesting.
World number two Simona Halep has had major fluctuations in form: from winning at both Shenzhen and Indian Wells to losing prematurely at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. She has started the tournament very strongly: despite losing four of five previous meetings with Pennetta, she won a surprisingly quick win against her on Sunday (the game lasted only an hour and 10 minutes and ended 6-0, 6-3).
Maria Sharapova is the other player that has confirmed her place, despite a wavering performance before the tournament. She had been plagued with injuries this season, and had not won any game this year before Wimbledon. She had to withdraw from the China Open in Beijing due to a left forearm injury – and that was just after recovering from a leg injury. She now seems to have overcome all the doubters, as her win again Radwanska after 2 hrs 48 min this week-end has proved she has regained top form.
All eyes are now on the Halep vs Sharapova game tomorrow, and opinion appears evenly divided about the outcome. Bookies have placed odds of 17/20 on Halep (1.85 in decimal) while Sharapova has been given slightly worse odds of 10/11 (1.91 in decimal). The speed of Halep’s win this week-end probably explains why she is now slightly ahead of Sharapova for their head-to-head.
Beyond this game, we shouldn’t forget Garbiñe Muguruza in the White Group. This 22 year-old has already reached the Wimbledon final (before losing to the ever dominant Serena 6-4, 6-4) and has won the Beijing Open just earlier this month, beating Timea Baczinsky in the process. Her youth and lack of experience may be her downfall in this tournament, especially against these players who have slams under their metaphorical belt.