Friday, October 30, 2015

WTA TOUR FINALS 2015: Sharapova, Muguruza Undefeated; Kvitova, Radwanska Also Qualify

The Round Robin portion of the 2015 WTA Tour Finals in Singapore is complete and in her first appearance 2015 Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza has gone undefeated, beating the three lefties in her group to reach the semifinals. By qualifying at the top of her group she will meet the second qualifier in the other group. In that group (as I expectedMaria Sharapova parlayed her strong head-to-head record against the rest of the field to go undefeated while somehow top seed Simona Halep failed to qualify when ninja Aggie Radwanska beat her without losing a set, thus insuring that all 3 players not named Sharapova would end with 1 win and 2 losses. But since Radwanska had won a set against Sharapova in her very first match, she advanced and Halep and Flavia Pennetta did not. Pennetta's career is now over but 2015 was by far her very best year on tour, which is an amazing way to go out on top!

There was still drama because after Muguruz outlasted Petra Kvitova 6-4 4-6 7-5 in their first ever meeting all Angelique Kerber had to do was win a set and she would qualify instead of the 2-time Wimbledon champ. But somehow Lucie Safarova was able to take out the indomitable German in straight sets, thus handing her Czech compatriot the second semifinalist spot.

These results mean that Kvitova will face Sharapova and Muguruza will face Radwanska. The latter met in a crucial Wimbledon semifinal earlier this year, which was won by Muguruza as she got up to a big lead (up a set and a break) which she then lost but was able to recover and win her first major semifinal and the right to face Serena Williams. Muguruza has now won the last 4 meetings with the Polish "ninja" (all of which came in 2015). Can Aggie get revenge? (I doubt it.)

The more compelling match is the showdown between Sharapova and Kvitova. P3tra beat Maria in straight sets at the 2014 WTA Tour Finals in the round robin stage the last time the two played but then neither player advanced to the semifinal stage last year. The Russian holds a 6-3 head-to-head lead against Kvitova, I think mostly for mental toughness. Kvitova is not playing her best tennis but maybe getting to the semifinal will relax her and she will hit freely (and not wildly). It's possible that Kvitova could dominate Sharapova or Kvitiva could be wild and flame out in straight sets, or we could have a nailbiting, 3-set thriller between two of the hardest hitters on tour. I hope its the latter, but I still give Sharapova the edge.

MadProfessah's pick: Sharapova-Muguruza final.

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