26 Oct 2014

Halep, Williams rematch in final

1:07 pm on 26 October 2014

Simona Halep crushed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 6-2 on Saturday to join Serena Williams in the championship decider at the WTA Finals.

Simona Halep

Simona Halep Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The pint-sized Romanian rebounded from her loss to Ana Ivanovic in the last group match on Friday to dominate Radwanska at Singapore's National Indoor Stadium.

Halep broke Radwanska's serve five times and racked up 26 winners against the Pole, including an overhead smash to seal her lopsided victory in just 67 minutes.

"I'm very excited to be in the final," Halep said in a courtside interview. "I've played my best tennis here this week."

The 23-year-old Halep, one of the most improved players in the women's game, made it to the title match in her first appearance at the elite season-ending event.

Ranked 64th in the world 18 months ago, she announced her arrival as one of the game's rising stars.

In 2013, the Romanian won her first WTA title. Then her second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth. The WTA, in one of its easiest decisions, named her as the tour's most improved player.

At the start of this year, Halep won her first Premier-level event, at Qatar, then made her first grand slam final, at the French Open, finishing runner-up to Maria Sharapova.

But earlier this week, the 1.68 metre (5ft 6in) Halep sent everyone an ominous reminder about her potency on court when she demolished Williams 6-0 6-2 in the round-robin stage, handing the world number one her heaviest defeat in 16 years.

Williams, who beat Caroline Wozniacki 2-6 6-3 7-6(6) earlier on Saturday to book her place in the final, said she was looking forward to the rematch.

The 18-time grand slam-winner is seeking her third straight victory at the end-of-season championship.

"I'm excited. My goal is to win three games. That'll be my first goal," the American said.

"Hopefully I can hold serve. That would be good. Most of all, I hope to break once. So I'm starting out with low goals.

"She played really, really well. Even she said she played really well. I'm just going to do the best that I can do and see what happens."