Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Williams too strong for Bouchard. Title defence still in balance

Published:Friday | October 24, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Serena Williams makes a backhand return to Canada's Eugenie Bouchard during their singles match at the WTA tennis finals in Singapore, yesterday. Williams won 6-1, 6-1.

SINGAPORE (AP): Serena Williams rebounded from the worst beating of her professional career to rout Eugenie Bouchard 6-1, 6-1 at the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Finals yesterday, yet her title defence remains in the balance.

Williams was humbled by Simona Halep the previous day, when the 18-time Grand Slam champion won only two games.

DESTINY TO BE DETERMINED TODAY

She turned around and eliminated Bouchard from semi-finals contention with a 0-3 record in the round-robin stage, while Williams improved to 2-1. The American will have to wait until today's match between Halep and Ana Ivanovic to know if she is through to the semis.

Williams will make the final four unless Ivanovic manages to beat Halep in straight sets. Halep is guaranteed a semi-final berth.

Meanwhile, the outcome of the other group remains uncertain, with none of the four players qualified for the semis and none out of contention.

Petra Kvitova beat Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-2, further eroding the Russian player's hopes of claiming the year-end No. 1 ranking.

Sharapova, who needs to win the title and rely on Williams not reaching the final if she is to bump the American from the top spot, fell to a 0-2 record, while Kvitova is 1-1.

In order for Sharapova to progress to the semis, she will need to win her last match against Agnieszka Radwanska and rely on Caroline Wozniacki beating Kvitova, and have both matches decided in straight sets.

Williams credited her coach Patrick Mouratoglou with lifting her out of the doldrums and preparing her for yesterday's match.

"I started to believe that maybe I could come play another match," Williams said. "I wasn't quite sure that I could.

"I was feeling mighty low. I was able to feed off this belief. I know that sounds weird. Even though I've won so many titles, I still at some point feel like, 'Oh gosh, maybe I might not be able to do this or maybe I might not be able to do that?'"

"If I wanted to win and be a part of the event, I should have won my match yesterday or should have done better," Williams said. "If I don't qualify, I'll be sad, but it wasn't my year. I'm not going to fall out and die."

Bouchard, the Wimbledon finalist, came into the tournament with only two tour matches in a month due to injuries, and won only 11 games across her three matches.

"I didn't have ideal preparation, but that can happen to a number of players at any given tournament," the Canadian said. "Disappointing that it's at such a big and cool event where I would love to play as well as I can."