Tennis: Halep crashes, Sharapova in semis at WTA Finals


SINGAPORE” Agnieszka Radwanska sent top seed Simona Halep crashing out of the WTA Finals on Thursday with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 win which also put a resurgent Maria Sharapova into the semi-finals.

But despite her 500th career victory, Poland s Radwanska now faces an anxious wait as she needs the Russian to beat Italy s Flavia Pennetta in straight sets later if she is to enter the semis.

“All I can do is watch and cheer for Maria,” Radwanska said.

There are no such complex round-robin calculations left for Halep, whose campaign was ended by Radwanska s defensive skills and experience accumulated over seven appearances at the season finale.

The Romanian world number two, last year s runner-up to Serena Williams on debut, made a strong start when she immediately broke Radwanska in the first game.

But the Pole broke back to level the match 3-3.

Long rallies led to a tie-break that Halep looked set to wrap up at 5-1 until Radwanska, seeded fifth, made spectacular saves at the net and went on to clinch it 7-5.

“That definitely was a crazy set,” she said.

“I was pretty relaxed and still fighting, still playing. I think when you (are) really relaxed, I think it s sometimes better, as we see,” Halep added.

The second set became a lopsided affair as Radwanska played with renewed confidence and the now demoralised Halep s energy flagged.

“I was done. No energy anymore. I was tired. I felt that I lost the chance to win the first set and probably I lost the chance to win the match in that moment,” Halep said.

She insisted she was still happy with her injury-marred 2015 season and looked forward to a holiday.

Halep retired at the China Open with a left Achilles tendon problem going into Singapore.

Williams, who won a hat-trick at the WTA Finals last year, opted to skip Singapore to rest after losing at the US Open, leaving the field wide open.

The WTA Finals features the world s top eight players split into Red and White round-robin pools. The top two in each pool will reach the semis, with the group winner facing the runner-up in the other to determine the finalists.

Spain s Garbine Muguruza is on top of White Group, which also includes Germany s Angelique Kerber and Czech players Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova. Final standings in the group are to be determined on Friday. Agencies

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