After her success in the opening game against the Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova, she beat Romanian Simona Halep 6-4, 6-2 in the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Tuesday. “It wasn’t such an easy match as it perhaps appeared from the outside,” said the 28-year old. “Simona is a player that never gives up, that always fights until the last point. Playing her, one always has to put her under pressure even when you’re winning easily. It came off quite well, especially in the second set.” Playing with the self-confidence from being the world No. 1, Angelique Kerber, who is competing for the fourth time at the WTA Finals, appeared to be fully concentrated right from the word go. She broke her opponent’s serve in the very first game and wrapped up the set after breaking for a second time at 4-all. The second was even more one-sided: the German broke twice and converted her third match point in the encounter that lasted one hour 22 minutes. When beating Dominika Cibulkova in three sets, she was on court for an hour longer.
Her last opponent in the Red Group on Thursday is Madison Keys. The American overcame Dominika Cibulkova 6-1, 6-4 in the evening’s second match. Though, after her win, Angelique Kerber is virtually sure of progressing to the semi-finals, she will be making sure that she does not ease up against Madison Keys. “For me the match is just as important as the first two,” she said. That she missed out on advancing at the 2105 WTA Finals by a single set still rankles on her mind–but she is not continually thinking about it; “I won’t be letting it drive me crazy. The rules are a little complicated which is why I also want to win the match. Then everything is clear.”
The encounter with Simona Halep was Angelique Kerber 78th of the season. No other player has appeared on court so often. The audience in the Singapore Indoor Stadium applauded her warmly after her 61st win. As she will be ending the season as the No. 1, she was given two early Christmas presents by the WTA–the diamond-studded Year-End No. 1 Trophy and a valuable ring made by Tiffany. She was given the “Player of the Year” award before the WTA Finals. For Porsche Team Germany’s Julia Görges, who is partnering the Czech Karolina Pliskova in the doubles, the WTA Finals begins on Thursday. Her first opponents are, of all people, the Frenchwomen Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic–the winners of the 2016 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
The WTA Finals were first played in 1972. Qualified are the year’s eight most successful players. They are split up into two round robin groups. The top two will contest the semi-finals. The final will take place on 30 October. Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska is the title-holder. Total prize money amounts to seven million dollars. The singles draw served up the following groups: Red Group: Angelique Kerber (Germany), Simona Halep (Romania), Madison Keys (USA), Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia). White Group: Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland), Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic), Garbine Muguruza (Spain) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia). Julia Görges, the Porsche Team Germany member, will be competing in the doubles alongside the Czech Karolina Pliskova.