Wednesday October 22nd, 2014

SINGAPORE -- Ana Ivanovic earned her first win over Eugenie Bouchard with a 6-1, 6-3 victory to keep her chances of qualifying for the semifinals of the WTA Finals alive. With Simona Halep on the cusp of qualifying for the semifinals with her 6-0, 6-2 win over Serena Williams -- she qualifies if she wins a single game against Ivanovic on Friday or if Bouchard wins a game from Serena on Thursday -- the other qualification spot out of the Red Group will come down to Serena or Ivanovic. 

No. 7 Ivanovic is making her first trip to the year-end championships since 2008. Winless against Bouchard in two matches, she took advantage of her experience in the unique event to get the better of the Canadian rookie. "I felt today I had advantage at different situation because it's her first Championships. Also, this is the first time that she's ranked higher than me in all of our matches, so pressure was on her. I really tried to use this as my advantage and tried to be aggressive and play free; it worked."

Ivanovic rolled to a 5-0 lead before Bouchard was able to hold her serve to win a game, but the second set was more competitive than the scoreline would indicate. Bouchard was able to stay level with Ivanovic to 3-3 but was broken on her own double-fault in a protracted seventh game. Ivanovic did well to save four of five break points in the second set to keep Bouchard in check. Bouchard drops to 0-2 in round robin play.

The 20-year-old admitted after her opening loss to Halep that she felt rusty after late-season injuries ate into her practice time. During a coaching timeout on Wednesday she told her coach Nick Saviano that she shouldn't have tried playing the tournament. Bouchard hoped she could play herself into form this week but with the format pitting the top eight players against each other, she's been playing undercooked. "It's something I knew going in, so it's not so much of a surprise. But it's still disappointing, I guess,​" Bouchard said after the match on Wednesday. 

Breaking down the Red Group Standings (After two rounds)

player record Sets won games Played Games Won Win %
Simona Halep 2-0 4-0 30 26 .867
Ana Ivanovic 1-1 2-2 36 20 .556
Serena Williams 1-1 2-2 34 14 .412
Eugenie Bouchard 0-2 0-4 31 9 .290

At the end of group play, the final standings will be determined (in order) by:

  • Wins;
  • Numbers of matches played;
  • Head-to-head results, if only two players are tied

If three players are tied -- which could happen here if Bouchard beats Serena and Halep beats Ivanovic, leaving a three-way tie between Ivanovic, Serena and Bouchard -- then the final standings and player who advances will be determined by: 

  • The highest percentage of sets won; or
  • The highest percentage of games won

Simona Halep hands Serena Williams worst loss since 1998

Even Ivanovic found herself swept up in the mathematics of her qualification prospects during her match. "At one point in my match today I started counting games, and I'm like, 'Why am I doing this?' Sometimes in a group [competition] that's why it's tough. You know what? I don't want to know. I want to go out there and play the best I can and fight for each game. In a group every game matters, and that's what I'm going to try to do.​"

Here's the order of play for Thursday, which sees Serena and Bouchard back in action:

[6] Agnieszka Radwanska vs. [8] Caroline Wozniacki
[2] Maria Sharapova vs. [3] Petra Kvitova
Not Before 7:30 pm
[1] Serena Williams vs. [5] Eugenie Bouchard

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