Angelique Kerber outsmarts Simona Halep — WTA Finals


Last night, she took a big step towards the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global after a confident display saw her cruise to a 6-4, 6-2 win over Simona Halep.

Kerber was even more dominant in the second set as Halep, one of the best returners in the game, struggled to impose her own game on the in-form German, who reached the top of the world rankings when she won the US Open last month.

She started the second set in identical fashion, breaking Halep's serve before winning her fifth game in a row to open up a 2-0 lead.

It has been quite the year for Kerber, who took over the No. 1 ranking from 22-time grand slam singles victor Serena Williams after securing her first US Open title last month.

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Elsewhere, in the second match in red group, American Madison Keys defeated Cibulkova 6-1 6-4 to remain in the hunt for a place in the last-four. "I was coming back very well, but maybe I didn't finish the important points and I missed a lot today", said Halep, who meets Cibulkova on Thursday.

The 28-year-old failed to make it past the round-robin stage in her previous three appearances (2012, 2013, 2015) and had compiled a mediocre 2-7 win-loss record. "I know what to do to go for it and just take the game in my hands", Kerber told reporters. If she wins a set, she's through.

Having battled from a set down against Dominika Cibulkova in her opening match of the tournament to win, Kerber lies top of the Red Group standings.

Spectators at Singapore's Indoor Stadium looked on in stunned disbelief when the Russian gave herself an impromptu haircut early in the deciding third set, asking the umpire to get her a large of pair scissors before proceeding to chop off the end of her ponytail and tossing the loose strands onto her seat.

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"It's always tough to play against Simona (but) I think I was moving good and I was going for it when I had the chance", added Kerber.

World No. 10 Berdych lost 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 7-5 to a man ranked nearly 100 places below him, after more than two and a half hours on court.
The defeat will hit Berdych's hopes of reaching next month's ATP Finals in London. If there's anybody who can get back on track and stay focused, I think it would be the fiery Cibulkova. You know, just went out and played my game. "I'm always trying to improve my game but I'm just really, really trying to enjoy this a little bit more than a year ago".

Kerber, playing steady and precise tennis, allowed Halep to take all the risks.

But if Keys beats Kerber in straight sets, and Halep loses a set to Cibulkova, she's out. "I've won two Grand Slams and I'm No. 1".

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