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How Serena's Streak Crashed

Did a reporter's question jinx Serena Williams at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global?

SINGAPORE - Serena Williams seems too laid back and self-confident in her abilities to be the superstitious type. In fact, she doesn’t really put much stock in milestones other than winning major tournaments and being No.1.

But what if WIlliams were superstitious? Would she consider this exchange during Monday night’s tournament-opening win over Ana Ivanovic a jinx?

Reporter: Related to that, I think that's 16 straight wins at the WTA Finals. Are you aware of those streaks? Do they matter or do they just happen?

WILLIAMS: No, they just happen. I'm aware of them because you guys make sure that I'm aware of them. So I just found out last time that I was 15 matches and I was like, 'Oh, boy, not another streak.' So now I'm 16 and, Gosh, here we go again. We'll see how it goes.

Conspiracy types might say that conversation put a hex on Serena’s 16-match WTA Finals winning streak. Or maybe that's a disservice to Simona Halep? The plucky Romanian performed with such surgical precision in her 6-0, 6-2 dismissal of Serena that it's really hard to point to bad luck.

"I think she played really well, to be honest," Williams said. "Personally I've never seen her play like this. Ever. But obviously she had nothing to lose and went for a lot of shots. You know, I think she just played a really, really good game."

At 2-0 Halep now sits uncontested atop the Red Group. Williams will have to defeat Eugenie Bouchard on Thursday (they start the night session around 7:30 pm SGT) while hoping Halep tops Ana Ivanovic.

Back to Williams; she opened the matchwith an ace. It looked like her serve could dominate Halep, who boasts terrific court coverage and balance. But things quickly fell apart. Williams committed 36 unforced errors.

"My forehand was off today again. I guess it went on an early vacation," Williams said.

Halep broke Williams on five occasions.

"My serve was at best in the 10-and-under division in juniors. It was actually embarrassing I think describes the way I played," Williams said.

The first set 6-0 score, only the eighth ever dished in Williams' direction, took less than 30 minutes. In all, the whole dismantling of the streak required 65 minutes.

Williams did not lament the end of the streak so much as the way in which it ended. She expressed open frustration mixed with bewilderment on the court. But knowing Williams, the loss will motivate her to kick her game into another gear.

"I'm obviously frustrated and I wanted to do better. I wanted to win more than two games. I was trying for three," Williams said. "At one point I was like, 'If I can just get three games.' But that didn't work out for me. But it's okay. You know, things are going and going and I'm still going to come back and I'm going to be better and I'm going to keep trying to do better."