Finals Of WTA In Singapore
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Finals Of WTA In Singapore

Garbine Muguruza hammered out her WTA Finals threat in no uncertain terms on Monday as she celebrated her rise to world number three with a straight-sets dismissal of Lucie Safarova in Singapore.

The imposing Spaniard, playing her debut match at the season finale, quickly shook off her nerves to win 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) and extend a run of form which has taken her to two straight finals.

In Monday's other White Group round-robin match, Germany's Angelique Kerber beat ailing 2011 champion Petra Kvitova 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) as she also made a winning start.

Muguruza turned 22 at this month's China Open, where she won her second career title, and has soared to a career-high third in the world in the latest rankings released on Monday.

And second-seeded Muguruza, the player of the moment on the women's tour, made no bones about her ambitions to rise further to world number one -- and stay there.

"I don't know how far I can get in the ranking, but definitely I'm trying to, you know, be there, top, and not only to arrive, to try to stay there," she said.

"I always had it in my mind that I could be up there... step by step I'm trying to be there," Muguruza added.

The result was also sweet revenge for Muguruza, after she lost to Safarova in this year's French Open quarter-finals, before going on to finish runner-up at Wimbledon.

Muguruza scored two breaks in the first set and recovered from an early break of her own service in the second to get it back on serve at 3-3.

Ninth-ranked Safarova, 28, fought off four break points to make it 4-4 before the set went to a tie-break which Muguruza won handily to wrap it up in just under two hours.

Both were Grand Slam runners-up this year to Serena Williams: Muguruza at Wimbledon and Safarova at Roland Garros, where she beat the Spaniard in straight sets in the last eight.

In Roland Garros, she played an amazing match. I think today I played a very good match also," Muguruza said.

Just wanted so much to win. I was fighting and you know, just very concentrated," she added.

Safarova said Muguruza's superior serving made the difference, as well as an injection of confidence after hitting her purple patch of form.

SINGAPORE: Russia’s Maria Sharapova returns a shot to Simona Halep of Romania during their match at the WTA Finals on Tuesday.

Maria Sharapova continued her mastery of Romania’s Simona Halep with a high-quality 6-4, 6-4 victory filled with bruising baseline rallies to edge closer to a last four berth at the WTA Finals here on Tuesday.

The Russian world number four topped the Red Group at the eight women end-of-season finals with her second win and next faces US Open champion Flavia Pennetta, who said she would retire after the tournament, with a semi-final spot on the line.

The 33-year-old Italian had earlier kept alive her WTA Finals bid with a flurry of backhand winners as she downed a strapped up and fatigued Agnieszka Radwanska 7-6(5) 6-4 to leave the Pole bottom of the standings with two defeats.

It was Pennetta’s first win in the group she was blown away by top seed Halep 6-0, 6-3 in her opener on Sunday with her backhand proving a particularly devastating wea­pon at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Sharapova’s win over the Romanian means all four players in the group still hold hopes of grabbing one of two semi-final spots available.

Sharapova edged Radwanska over three tough sets on Sunday but showed no willingness to go the distance again on Tuesday in a ferocious baseline battle against the top-seeded Halep.

Both players traded early breaks with neither enjoying an easy ride on serve before five-times grand slam champion Sharapova secured the set by breaking Halep, runner-up here last year, for a second time at 5-4.

The 28-year-old Russian, who had won all five previous matches against Halep, was controlling the bulk of the rallies from the centre of the court with some rangy defensive work also causing the Romanian angst.

Sharapova broke Halep again in a lengthy second game of the second set and some blistering winners from both sides of the court allowed her to open up a 5-1 lead.

She looked set to serve out the match before her double fault demons returned as she was broken from 30-15 up and then lost her next service game as Halep fought back to be on serve.

Her recovery, though, was quickly ended by the shrieking Sharapova who broke in the next game to seal the match with a bruising backhand before letting out a roar of approval.

(Edited by Rvmondejar)


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