CONSTANTA, Romania - After a somewhat quiet few months, WTA Rising Star Simona Halep reminded us all of her incredible talents at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, scoring her first win over a World No.1 - and becoming the first Romanian ever to beat a World No.1 - by taking out Serena Williams in the round robin phrase. Williams got her back in the final.
But her form during the week as a whole was reminiscent of the bulk of her season, where she reached her first Grand Slam final at the French Open, as well as the quarters and semis of the Australian Open and Wimbledon, respectively, and picked up WTA titles at Doha and Bucharest. Halep would make it as high as No.2 in the world in the summer, and got within a few wins of World No.1 at the US Open.
Having started the year outside the Top 10, she certainly had a whirlwind of a year in 2014.
"I think winning my semifinal at the French Open was the happiest moment of the year for me," Halep said in Singapore. "It's because it put me in my first Grand Slam final, and doing that at the French Open was my dream because I won it in the juniors. I think that was my happiest moment of the year.
"But it has always been my dream just to be a top player, too. I started to think I wanted to be a professional tennis player when I was around 14, and I've worked hard to have my chance at this life. I worked hard every day. Last year I started to play really well in Madrid, even if I lost first round, and then in Rome I did the semifinals and beat some top players. I got confidence, and I knew I could be in the top. Then I won a few WTA titles and just kept taking the positives from every match.
"That's why I'm here now, and I'm just trying to be better and better day by day."
After falling to Williams in the final of the WTA Finals, Halep was asked what she could improve during the off-season to take the next step in her career, and perhaps threaten for World No.1 again.
"It's a tough question because first I'll have holidays!" she said.
"But maybe I need to work more in the gym to be stronger, to have more power. My serve didn't work very well today, but I knew that was because I was a little bit tired. I've improved a lot this year, this period, so I'm happy with my game, but I have to work more on everything, like my shots too.
"I still think I did a great job, though. I did a great result here. I'm happy, and I don't want to take the negative things. Only the positive things, and go ahead and move forward with those."
Looking ahead just a little bit, Halep doesn't have an overwhelming amount of points to defend in the Australian season - a first round loss in Sydney and the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.
Can she make a big move in 2015, and can she make that move Down Under? Stay tuned...