The WTA Finals in Singapore are set to kick off on Monday afternoon and will feature a variety of exciting match-ups in the round robin stage. In group A, top seed Serena Williams will begin her campaign with a opening match against arguably her top rival of the season: Ana Ivanovic.
The two have clashed on eight occasions on the professional tour, with Williams leading the series with a dominant 7-1 head to head record. However, the two have cross paths four times this season alone, with Ivanovic’s win taking place at the start of the year at the Australian Open.
Coming off a remarkable fortnight in New York, the world No. 1 was forced to exit the Wuhan Open under dire circumstances. Williams was involved in a competitive battle against French No. 1 Alize Cornet before breaking for a 6-5 lead in the opening set. At that point, Williams called for the medic and official to check her blood pressure and temperature before swiftly calling for her retirement. It was the most bizarre conclusion to a match since Williams retired from the Wimbledon doubles competition with her sister Venus due to an illness as well.
The American would regain her form in Beijing, where she reached the quarter-final round before withdrawing once again with a viral illness. Following several weeks of rest and recuperation, the world No. 1 claims to have regained perfect health.
Ivanovic began her fantastic run in Asia with a breathtaking week in Tokyo, where she played some magnificent tennis en route to her fourth title of the season. She defeated Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 7-6(2) to lift the crown. She has now won a career-best 4 WTA titles in 2014, which tops her previous best of 3 titles and 51 match wins in a year. She followed up with outrageously quick turnaround in Wuhan the following day, where she was understandably forced to retire near the end of her first set against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
The Serb followed up with a semi-final showing in Beijing, where she lost to Maria Sharapova and then closed out her regular season with a second round exit in Linz to Madison Brengle after she was forced to withdraw from the match.
Eight matches into their storied rivalry, Williams is the undoubted favourite heading into the round robin clash. She leads the series 7-1 and has won their three most recent encounters this season. While an inspired Ivanovic could produce the upset, this is Williams’ match to lose.
Prediction: Serena Williams in Three Sets