World No 1 Serena Williams, looking for her fifth WTA Finals title, suffered her heaviest defeat since 1998 on Wednesday when losing 6-0, 6-2 to Simona Halep in Singapore.
“It was actually embarrassing. Yeah, very embarrassing,” said Williams, a winner of 18 grand slams, 63 WTA titles and the owner of four Olympic gold medals,
The loss, her worst defeat since she was crushed 6-1, 6-1 by Joannette Kruger in the quarter-finals at Oklahoma City in 1998, halted the defending champion’s winning streak at the season-ending event at 16 matches and leaves her needing to beat Eugenie Bouchard to make it through to the last four from the red group.
As well as the Romanian played in moving her opponent around Singapore’s purple indoor hard court, the 33-year-old American had only herself to blame for the defeat after her serve fell apart and the errors flowed.
Of Halep, Williams said: “She’s never played like this before.”
The Romanian, runner-up at this year’s French Open, was ecstatic after becoming the second woman to beat Williams in straight sets in a WTA Finals match, following Kim Clijsters in 2002. “The biggest match of my life. I’m really happy,” she said.
Williams gave no indication of the struggles that awaited her as she boomed down an ace to start the match between the two players, who claimed straight-set wins in their opening red group matches.
That ace would be one of only nine points she would win in the opening set as her game fell apart to give Maria Sharapova hope of overhauling her to finish the season as world No 1.
Williams, jumping around and screaming at herself in a bid to snap out of the hole, got on the board in the ninth game, holding serve to make it 2-1. But she would win just one more game in the match.
Andy Murray won his first--round match in the Valencia Open 6-3, 6-3 against Jürgen Melzer yesterday after taking a wild card into the event as he bids to qualify for the end-of-season World Tour Finals.
World No 1 Novak Djokovic became a father for the first time on Tuesday after his wife Jelena gave birth to a boy named Stefan. “Stefan, our baby angel was born!” Djokovic posted on Twitter early yesterday. “I’m so proud of my beautiful wife Jelena! Thank you so much for your love and support. We love you all!!!
Djokovic said on his website that he intends to play at the Paris Masters next week in a bid to stop Roger Federer ending the year as world No 1.Reuse content