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10 THINGS TO KNOW: SERENA VS HALEP

Has Serena Williams ever three-peated at a WTA event before? Just how much does Simona Halep want to win every match, every set even? Get ready for Finals Day here!

SINGAPORE - It's down to the last two singles players and last two doubles teams at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, and they'll all be battling it out for year-end glory on Finals Day on Sunday. Here are 10 things to get you ready for the biggest day of the year...

(doubles final 4pm Singapore time, singles final 7pm Singapore time - see TV listings here)

(1) Serena Williams (USA #1) vs (4) Simona Halep (ROU #4)
Head-To-Head: Serena leads Halep, 3-1

1) Players playing each other in the round robin then again in the final is nothing new.
This is actually the fifth time since the WTA Finals switched to a round robin format in 2003 that two players will be playing against each other in the round robin and then again in the final.

2003 - Clijsters beat Mauresmo in the RR (and then again in the final)
2005 - Pierce beat Mauresmo in the RR (but Mauresmo beat her back in the final)
2006 - Mauresmo beat Henin in the RR (but Henin beat her back in the final)
2009 - Serena beat Venus in the RR (and then again in the final)

2) There isn't an ounce of Halep that doesn't want to win every single match - and set.
When Halep went into her last round robin match against Ivanovic she had already qualified for the semifinals, and if Ivanovic beat her in straight sets, she would have brought Ivanovic into the semifinals from the Red Group instead of Serena. After Ivanovic won the first set, Halep could have been forgiven for saving her energy - but she pushed the match to a third set before falling.

"No, no," Halep said after her semifinal win on Saturday. "I didn't think I could eliminate Serena. Every time I go on court I just want to do everything I can to win the match. I play with pleasure. I love tennis. I don't care about results, but when the results are coming I'm really happy."

3) Halep isn't afraid of Serena. At all.
After that win over Ivanovic she was also asked about the scenario that would have eliminated Serena.

"I didn't hear about this. I knew it could have happened it I lost, 6-3, 6-3, or something like this.

"But I didn't care. I'm not afraid to play against Serena again."

4) Serena has never lost to the same player twice at a WTA event.
Through all of her years playing the WTA Finals and even her early years coming through qualies and then playing the main draw, Serena has never lost to the same player twice at a WTA event.

5) Halep is trying to become the first player born in 1991 or later to win a title this big.
The four Grand Slams and the WTA Finals are the five biggest tournaments on the WTA calendar, and only one player born in 1990 or later has conquered any of them - Petra Kvitova, who was born on March 8, 1990, has two Wimbledon titles and one WTA Finals title. Halep was born on September 27, 1991.

6) Serena is trying to become just the third player to win this tournament five or more times.
Serena already has four titles here - 2001, 2009, 2012 and 2013 - which ties her for third place all-time alongside Chris Evert. Martina Navratilova has eight titles here, Steffi Graf has five.

7) Serena is trying to three-peat at a WTA event for the third time.
Serena has two three-peats to her name going into this final, at Miami (2002, 2003 and 2004) and the US Open, which she completed last month (2012, 2013 and 2014). Can this be her third three-peat?

8) Serena and Halep will finish the year at No.1 and No.3, respectively.
The elite eight will finish as the Top 8 on the year-end WTA Rankings in this order: 1. Serena, 2. Sharapova, 3. Halep, 4. Kvitova, 5. Ivanovic, 6. Radwanska, 7. Bouchard and 8. Wozniacki.

(2) Hsieh/Peng (TPE/CHN) vs (3) Black/Mirza (ZIM/IND)
Head-To-Head: Hsieh/Peng lead Black/Mirza, 3-2

9) Hsieh and Peng are hoping to keep their perfect finals record alive in their final match.
Hsieh and Peng come into the final with a perfect 12-0 record together in WTA doubles finals - given they're splitting up after this, how perfect would it be to end it with an unlucky-lucky 13-0?

10) Black and Mirza saved match point in both of their first two matches here.
Black and Mirza fought off a match point down 10-9 in the match tie-break against Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears in the quarterfinals, 6-3, 2-6, 12-10, and they fought off triple match point down 9-6 in the match tie-break to beat Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik in the semis, 4-6, 7-5, 11-9.




 

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