Halep thrashes Pen­netta in WTA Fi­nals opener

Daily Trust - - SPORT -

Ro­ma­nia’s Si­mona Halep kicked off her cam­paign for a maiden WTA Fi­nals ti­tle in em­phatic fash­ion with a thump­ing 6-0, 6-3 vic­tory over U.S. Open cham­pion Flavia Pen­netta in the open­ing match of the eight-woman sea­so­nend­ing tour­na­ment yes­ter­day.

The world num­ber two is the high­est ranked player in the field af­ter Ser­ena Wil­liams, who has won the tour­na­ment the last three years, with­drew cit­ing the need to rest af­ter a year spent car­ry­ing in­juries.

Halep crushed Wil­liams in round robin play a year ago be­fore los­ing to the Amer­i­can in the fi­nal and her love of the Sin­ga­pore In­door Sta­dium hard court was ev­i­dent in a first set she wrapped up in 26 min­utes af­ter break­ing serve three times.

The Ro­ma­nian had ar­rived in Sin­ga­pore un­der an in­jury cloud af­ter pick­ing up an an­kle knock at the start of Oc­to­ber, but the 24-year-old moved ef­fort­lessly around the court on Sun­day and with­stood Pen­netta’s at­tempts to get back into the con­test.

The 33-year-old Ital­ian played more like she had on her way to a stun­ning vic­tory in New York last month in the sec­ond set but her re­sis­tance ended in a marathon eighth game when she dropped serve to trail 5-3 af­ter staving off three break points.

Pen­netta, who an­nounced she would re­tire from ten­nis at the end of the sea­son, forced only two break points, both in the open­ing game of the sec­ond set, dur­ing the en­tire match and her un­forced er­ror count of 27 made life much eas­ier for Halep.

“I am so happy to be back in Sin­ga­pore and glad that I was able to play re­ally well to­day,” Halep said in a courtside in­ter­view.

Si­mona Halep

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