SINGAPORE - Though eliminated from contention herself, Elina Svitolina had her say in the final four at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global on Friday with a 6-3, 6-4 Red Group victory over World No.1 Simona Halep.
With Halep needing a win to advance out of the group, Svitolina's victory - and another epic comeback from Caroline Garcia earlier in the day over Caroline Wozniacki - ensures the Frenchwoman as the group winner, while Wozniacki finishes second.
Garcia will face Venus Williams, who finished second out of the White Group, in the semifinals, while the group's winner, Karolina Pliskova, will face Wozniacki.
"I had nothing to lose, and I was playing for my fans and for the people who were supporting me during all this week. I had very good support, lots of people with Ukrainian flags - it does not always happen, [people] screaming and cheering for me," Svitolina said.
"Those guys, as well, who are back in Ukraine who were supporting me this week. It means a lot to me, and I was playing today for them."
Svitolina was vocally disappointed with her play over the course of her first two matches at the WTA Finals, defeats to Caroline Wozniacki and Caroline Garcia in the Red Group, over the course of the week.
However, the Ukrainian played with vigor over the course of the 70-minute encounter, running from corner to corner and returning nearly every shot that the World No.1 threw at her.
Though Halep ended the match with in the positive with respect to her winners (22) and unforced errors (19), Svitolina won the big points when it mattered the most.
The Ukrainian converted on three of the five break points she created, and won 70% of the points played on her serve to score her third win in four matches against Halep in 2017.
"There is no such a thing as a comfortable player on tour, especially at this tournament," Svitolina said of her success against Halep this year. "Everyone has a different style of playing. Each time, I play different, and she plays differently.
"We always...try to find the small things, maybe on this surface or with these kind of balls, is gonna work against each player. Each time is something different. That's my feeling, and I try to find the way."
As it happened: Svitolina sends Halep out of Singapore
"I didn't really do anything special - I just prepared for another match," she added. "It was very, very tough. It was tough to come back after - I was sad with the way I played this week.
"It was, of course, much better today. It was a different match and I just was trying to just to play one point at a time. For me, it was the last match of the season and I knew this, and I just was trying to get the win."
Halep ends her WTA Finals campaign with a 1-2 record, after beginning the week with a victory over Garcia.
"I think I played better than Wozniacki's match, and this was my goal, actually. Of course, I did everything I could and I wanted to win it, but just didn't happen," she said. "She played really well, and she deserved to win. I'm not sad. Of course, I'm upset that I lost, but it's been a great year and I'm happy to go to the holiday now."
Halep is eliminated in the round robin stage for the third straight season, after finishing runner-up to Serena Williams in her 2014 debut.
"If we see the results, [there is] not a big difference," Halep assessed. "I'm a different player, for sure. Even if I did the same result here, I'm a different player and I'm stronger. I think I improved a lot in myself and also in my game.
"I will not let this tournament to ruin everything I built this year, so I'm okay and looking already forward to the next year to have a good, a better start."
Should Karolina Pliskova win the title in Singapore, the Czech will finish the year at World No.1, but with any other result, Halep will stay in the top spot entering 2018.
"I found out I'm close to finish No. 1 - I thought I would be like No.4 after this tournament, but now I have a good chance," Halep said. "It was really good that I could touch the No. 1 this year. It was my goal, so I'm okay.
"I'm in the same position like Karolina was in Wimbledon. I will just wait. I'm not thinking about being No.1. I'm telling the truth. I will wait and we will see who is going to finish."
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This article was first seen on www.wtatennis.com.