By Ros Satar, in Singapore
- Venus Williams reached the WTA Finals for the third straight time
- Former champion chasing her 50th title, and second season-ending finale title
SINGAPORE – Venus Williams battled her way into the finals in Singapore – can she go all the way and claim a title this year?
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She knows how it is done
Of the eight players that started the tournament last Sunday, Venus Williams is the only won who has lifted the title. Experience at this level can make a huge difference, and as well as winning the title in 2008, she reached the final the year after, losing to sister Serena Williams.
All about winning matches
While it has been difficult to get much out of Williams in her post match press conferences, the one message that has been consistent is that her focus is all about getting the W.
In a way that has almost simplified the task in hand. We saw against Caroline Garcia that perhaps a flat start meant a change in tactics. Garcia had expected the rallies to be long, but it looked as though Williams was stretching out a few sore muscles at the start f the match, and the rallies because shorter as she picked up the aggression. If anything can start to nullify Caroline Wozniacki‘s game, Williams dictating play would be a good start.
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What do the numbers say?
Williams is second to Wozniacki in aces and interestingly in terms of break points saved. Her record going the distance tops the field and if she can force a third set, who’s to say that her fighting spirit won’t make it eight wins in a row.
About that head-to-head
Even though it has been a while since they faced each other over a net, certainly until their last couple of matches in 2015, Wozniacki had not even come close to Williams, and indeed has only ever taken one set off the American.
While Williams acknowledged they had both had to adapt their games simply to stay on the tour, a record like that can still play mind-games on your opponent.
The end is in sight
The beauty of the round robin format is that if you fall in the opening round, as Williams did, you have two more chances to keep your title hopes alive. Even though she has seemed largely disinterested in engaging with us about her thoughts on the tournament, there has been no mistaking her desire to want this title.
And yes – we have no way of knowing how many more years we will have either of the Williams sisters on the tour, and in the same tournament as another 37-year-old in Martina Hingis has retired, Williams would most certainly go out on a high with this title.
Also, you do not make the trip out here unless you want a real shot at the hardware. Williams has qualified four additional times for the WTA Finals and not taken up her spot through injuries. Who knows if she will ever get a chance to be at the season-ending finale again.
Wozniacki & Williams play the final on Sunday, not before 7:30pm (11:30am BST).
Main Image: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
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