The first round of results throws up an intriguing encounter between the new World No. 1 Simona Halep and the resurgent Caroline Wozniacki.
Halep came out and delivered a typically gritty performance against Caroline Garcia, she gave away six games to the high-flying Frenchwoman.
Meanwhile Wozniacki finally stopped the rot against Elina Svitolina, scoring her first win over the somewhat discombobulated Ukrainian, dismissing her in little under an hour, but the two games she allowed Svitolina puts her ahead on the board, as we all gear up for the headaches that are the advancement scenarios.
However there is still tennis to be played, and for Halep, the challenge is to snap a two-match losing streak to Wozniacki, although the last two hard court wins have gone the Romanian’s way.
With a slow court that helps those who can switch between attack and defence, it looks on paper that this is tailor-made for the Dane, who explained how the hard-court boards have been tricky for some of the debutants here.
Halep leads Wozniacki 3-2 in their head to head meetings.
The other match of the day will be between Elina Svitolina and Caroline Garcia. It probably is no fun being part of the statistic where every debutant at Singapore this year has lost on this court, and not even gained a set, in the first round. So it is time for either Svitolina (still theoretically in the running to snatch the year-end No. 1) and Garcia – the only player that is not in contention for the battle for No. 1.
There is not much between them. Svitolina’s win over Garcia came two years ago, and it is fair to say that the Frenchwoman has come along in leaps and bounds in the last two years. Perhaps more so this year, after injury and some ups and downs off court have served to make her a stronger and far more resilient player.
Her doubles skill makes her a worthy threat on the court, to go along with great athleticism and she can also defend and attack.
Given how Svitolina struggled against Wozniacki, who can also switch on both modes, this could be an uphill task against a player who is still really coasting after pulling off the Wuhan and Beijing double.
Svitolina and Garcia have met twice in the past with both players winning one a piece.
Halep to win Wozniacki in straight sets and Svitolina to defeat Garcia in three sets.
Implication of these matches results
- If Halep and Garcia win, Halep qualified as group winner, Svitolina is eliminated (Garcia and Wozniacki play for the No. 2 spot on Friday)
- If Halep wins in straight sets and Svitolina wins in three sets, Halep qualifies (position tbd)
- If Wozniacki and Svitolina win, Wozniacki qualifies as group winner, Garcia is eliminated (Svitolina and Halep play for the No. 2 spot)
- If Wozniacki wins in straight sets and Garcia wins in three sets, Wozniacki qualifies (position tbd)
- Any other combination of results will mean qualification comes down to Friday’s matches.