By Ros Satar, in Singapore
- Jelena Ostapenko  def. Karolina Pliskova 6-3 6-1
- Venus Williams  def. Garbiñe Muguruza 7-5 6-4
- Martina Hingis announces she will retire after this tournament
SINGAPORE – Jelena Ostapenko crowned the end of her season with a win in the WTA Finals, but Venus Williams ousted Garbiñe Muguruza to reach the semi-finals.
Venus Williams  def. Garbiñe Muguruza 7-5 6-4
Call her resurgent, call her inspirational, call her what you will. Venus Williams bumped former World No. 1 and Wimbledon conqueror Garbiñe Muguruza to book her spot in the semi-finals of the WTA Finals.
It was a battle of wills, as each time Muguruza looked to have the measure of the 37-year-old veteran, she lost her advantage. After a flat performance in the second round-robin match, the Spaniard struggled to lift her level to make a break count, with Williams delivering the final blow to break Muguruza to take the match.
Despite looking happy at the win, her unshakeable focus of not giving much away to the press. When asked if knowing that today’s outcome was a ‘win-and-in’ situation and thus like a normal tournament, she replied:
“That pretty much sums it up.”
Thankfully Muguruza, while disappointed, was perhaps a little more forthcoming:
“I knew I wasn’t playing my best tennis. I was just trying to be calm, to not get crazy and kind of waiting for my opportunity. And it didn’t come. In important moments, she stepped up and turned it around.”
Jelena Ostapenko  def. Karolina Pliskova 6-3 6-1
When it came to finishing with a flourish, Jelena Ostapenko halted the progress of Karolina Pliskova to end her season with a win. From the start, Pliskova looked flat and she admitted it had been harder than she thought to get up for this match.
She said: “It was tough. Not only in the second set; I think even in the first. I think I started pretty well today but had few break points, so that game was a little bit the key of, I don’t want to say first set, but I felt like if I would have made it, it would be different.
“Yeah, really tough little bit to push myself into it and to play the best tennis if you know you’re qualified. Wasn’t being ever in this situation, so I felt weird today.”
Ostapenko manages to finish her season with a win – not many players get to do that, and her enjoyment of the whole process marks her out as someone to expect at the season-ending finale in years to come.
“I was just relaxed because, as I said, it’s my last match here and, yeah, I think I was playing much better than the other two matches.
“It’s my first time and hopefully more times I will be here. But, yeah, I’m really happy that I had a chance to play here.”
Martina Hingis announces her retirement
Of course this is not the first time the Swiss former prodigy has walked away from the sport, but this time she means it.
When she won the Mixed doubles at the US Open partnering Jamie Murray to a second title (Wimbledon earlier in the year) she was somewhat reticent to commit, and she admitted that the decision had been made and her partners had all been good about keeping quiet.
Hingis said: “My partners already knew it and the rumour was out there. I’m actually really surprised that they kept it that long, kind of, but the players have been really good and supportive until today when [Swiss press] said the things.
“I told Leticia from the start, Hey, this will probably be my last year. So some people knew it; some didn’t. I mean, still probably people think after a year like this, after a season like this, but I think it’s also perfect timing. You know, you want to stop on top and not when you’re already going backwards (smiling).”
Play continues with the final round-robin rounds on Friday.
Main Image: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
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