Simona Halep suffered a shocking exit in the Round Robin stage of the 2017 WTA Finals at the hands of nemesis Elina Svitolina as the Romanian once again failed to find her best tennis at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Svitolina, who was already eliminated before the match began, played some incredible tennis and was just simply peaking as she ended her season on a high note, closing it out with a win.
Coming into the match: Halep chasing for semifinal spot while Svitolina chasing for pride
Halep came into the match knowing that a win would qualify her for the semifinals after Garcia’s incredible triumph against Wozniacki earlier in the afternoon, but she fell under pressure but still has a great chance to end the year as the world number one unless Karolina Pliskova wins the title.
Svitolina’s first WTA Finals match started in the worst possible way, losing to Caroline Wozniacki 2-6, 0-6 before narrowly falling short to Caroline Garcia in her second match despite leading 5-3 in the final set. Meanwhile, Halep started her Singapore campaign with an impressive display against Garcia but everything went wrong against the Dane, falling 0-6, 2-6 as well.
Great start for Svitolina
The Ukrainian made a firing start to the match as she played akin to an aggressive player, with her powerful first serves helping her claim the opening service hold comfortably. Svitolina also prevailed in the longer rallies as her ability to play counterpunching tennis was impressive as well, forcing Halep to pull the trigger and take the risk to hit a powerful shot, which often backfired.
It was the case in the early stages of the match as Halep threw in a couple of unforced errors to gift Svitolina the early lead. Trying to dictate play, Halep’s impatience grew as the rallies got longer, and the fourth-ranked player eventually opened up a formidable 3-0 lead within a blink of an eye.
Halep tries to fight back but Svitolina was just too strong
A confident service hold finally saw Halep getting onto the scoreboard for the first time in the evening but Svitolina removed all threats from the Romanian world number one after she comfortably held her serve to love, playing some great aggressive tennis. After an exchange of service holds, Svitolina found herself serving for the set at 5-3 up, but several loose errors committed while facing the pressure allowed Halep to get to deuce. Nonetheless, she was still able to close out the first set 6-3 after 32 minutes of play.
Halep grabs the early lead but gets pegged back
Halep had the perfect start to the second set, holding her serve in the opening game before coming from 40-0 down in the following game to break serve for the first time in the match. Svitolina played a loose game and was too passive, allowing the world number one to dictate play. However, Halep was unable to hold onto the lead as Svitolina broke straight back to return on serve.
Svitolina takes the straightforward win over the struggling world number one
After several exchanges of service holds, Halep found herself serving at 3-3, and the game was extremely crucial as it was the turning point in deciding the match outcome. Leading 40-15, Halep threw in critical errors with one of them being a clear drive volley sent straight into the net, allowing Svitolina to take advantage and make the first breakthrough.
This gave Svitolina the lead and allowed her to ultimately consolidate the break for a 5-3 lead. Although Halep showed some great resistance to stay in the match, Svitolina eventually served out the match to claim the excellent win after an hour and 12 minutes of action.