SINGAPORE - No.5 seed Venus Williams came out on top in the White Group shootout against Garbiñe Muguruza to advance to the semifinals of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
As it happened: Venus defeats Muguruza to return to WTA Finals semifinals
Both players came into the matchup fighting for the No.2 spot in White Group; Venus and Muguruza both lost to Karolina Pliskova earlier in the tournament, but improved to 1-1 after wins over Jelena Ostapenko.
With her 7-5, 6-4 victory over Muguruza, Venus gets her revenge in the rematch of their Wimbledon final clash and sends the Spaniard crashing out of the round robin stage at the WTA Finals for the second year in a row.
“A win is a win, whether it's like today or yesterday,” Venus mused in her post-match press conference. “I'm pretty used to going home after you lose, so I knew what the stakes were.”
Both players are aggressive returners, and as a result they kept each other’s serve under pressure from the start of the match, attacking every short ball. After bringing four break point chances in the first six games between the two, they traded breaks with Muguruza striking first and Venus leveling the score at 4-4.
They stayed neck and neck with little to separate the two until Muguruza finally blinked at the net, flubbing two volleys late in the set and handing Venus set points at 6-5. The Spaniard did well to wrestle both back, but Venus pushed through at the third time of asking to put away the opening set.
Muguruza recovered strongly after dropping the set and came out on top after three breaks of serve started off set two. But Venus, who seemed to be slowing down and getting sluggish, roared back from 3-1.
Another three breaks in a row left them level once again before Venus finally scored a crucial hold to consolidate her lead. She broke Muguruza one final time as the Spaniard’s unforced errors crept up once again, and closed out the match after an hour and 45 minutes to make her way into her fifth WTA Finals semifinal of her career.
“I think she played very good in important moments, and I made few mistakes that I shouldn't,” Muguruza reflected afterwards. “I was just trying to not get crazy and kind of wait for my opportunity. And it didn't come. In important moments, she stepped up and turned it around.”
As the White Group runner up, Venus will take on the Red Group winner in the semifinals - the Red Group standings will be decided on Friday. Caroline Wozniacki has already advanced to the knockout phase but her position isn’t determined with Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Caroline Garcia all still in contention.