VENUS ADVANCES IN
YEAR-ENDING WTA FINALS
Ashley Marshall | October 26, 2017
Venus Williams is looking to finish 2017 with a flourish.
On the heels of a resurgent season that saw her climb back into the Top 5 for the first time in almost six years, fifth-ranked Williams on Thursday defeated No. 2 seed Garbiñe Muguruza in a rematch of this summer's Wimbledon final, 7-5, 6-4, at the WTA Finals in Singapore.
The win, Williams’ second in three group-stage matches, ensures that she advances to semifinals at the WTA Finals for the fifth time in as many tries. The semifinals will be contested as a straight knockout competition.
The 37-year-old lost to Karolina Pliskova, 6-2, 6-2, on Day 1 of the tournament, but she kept her hopes of qualifying for the knockout stage alive with a 7-5, 6-7, 7-5 thriller against French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in her second match of the event. ADVERTISEMENT
By virtue of finishing second in the round-robin White Group behind Pliskova, Williams will face the top finisher from the other group, the Red Group, which will be determined Friday. Her possible semifinal opponents are Caroline Wozniacki, Simona Halep and Caroline Garcia.
Wozniacki is already assured of a place in the final four, but all three other players in the group – world No. 1 Halep, Svitolina and Garcia – are still in contention for the second qualifying spot. Even though Wozniacki has already punched her ticket to the semifinals, there’s still no guarantee she’ll top the group.
“A win is a win, whether it's like today or yesterday,” Williams said after Thursday's win over Muguruza, according to WTATennis.com. “I'm pretty used to going home after you lose, so I knew what the stakes were.”
Williams is making her fifth appearance at the WTA Finals, including under the previous name of the WTA Tour Championships, and she maintained her perfect record of advancing out of the group stage.
She reached the semifinal in her debut in 1999 and then again in 2002. She won the year-end tournament in 2008 after rallying from a set down to beat Svetlana Kuznetsova, and she contested the final the following year against younger sister Serena.
Venus also qualified for the Finals in 2010 but was forced to pull out with a knee injury. In 2015, she was the first alternate but did not end up competing.