The countdown to the WTA finals continues with a look at the four outsiders gunning for the title.
Few players have exploded onto the Women’s international tennis scene like Eugenie Bouchard has in 2014. Those who have made such an impact went onto rule the world and win countless Grand Slams. Only a mere few would doubt Bouchard’s capability on the big stage and the potential she has unleashed at the big tournaments this season; especially at Wimbledon, where she reached the final.
Eugenie Bouchard goes into Singapore absolutely pressure free. It’s her first time qualifying for the event and has no points to defend. This psychological advantage will be used in her mental warfare as it will allow the Canadian player to hit freely and go for her shots. Her youthful excitement will see her deal with all expected of her commercially at the tournament and will relax her between matches. This is an exciting first time adventure for the Wimbledon finalist and the wave of excitement will carry her through.
Bouchard belongs in the WTA elite and the scalps collected on her racket in the season prove that she is an outside threat at the WTA finals. Wins over Ana Ivanovic, Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki along with the reputable rackets Jelena Jankovic, Venus Williams, Angelique Kerber, Andrea Petkovic, Daniela Hantuchova and Alize Cornet prove that the Canadian World Number seven is no flash in the pan.
The one time WTA title winner’s relentless striking, taking each point stroke by stroke, backing up a vicious return of serve and a tactically astute serve will no doubt rattle the main four WTA Finals contenders; if Bouchard can just knock their confidence and make them think on court, then there is no reason why the scalps of Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova could not fall to her in Singapore.
The former Wimbledon finalist is feared by every player on the WTA Tour. Her calibre of shots is far superior to those of her rivals and her tactical awareness is the greatest of her generation. Few can live with Aga Radwanska on court, but her lack of power at the end of a tiring season can prove fatal.
The players’ player of the year has managed career wins over Sharapova, Ivanovic, Wozniacki, Bouchard, Kvitova and Halep. This makes her frustratingly lethal for all her rivals. Radwanska’s run to the Wimbledon final in 2012 and title wins at Miami, Montreal, Tokyo and Beijing in recent years highlight that the Polish starlet can deliver on the biggest stages in the most feared draws in the world. Singapore will be Agnieszka’s sixth time at the WTA Finals, with only five wins and seven losses at the event. However, in previous editions Radwanska had been chasing qualification and arrived at the Championships fatigued. Aga Radwanska has made sure that this is not the case in 2014 having not played since the Asian swing after the US Open and missing the Autumn tournaments prior to the WTA Finals.
This different approach to the finals could be the injection of fighting spirit, guile, guts and cunning that could see her relish each rival and unleash her mercurial style to victory. Radwanska may not be a major contender in Singapore, but she is fully capable of causing ripples in the event.
Former World number One and former French Open Champion Ana Ivanovic heads to her third WTA Finals, resurgent and in the habit of winning titles again. Her four WTA titles and two finals in 2014, along with the scalps of Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki showcase that the Serbian is back to her feared best. Ivanovic also heads to Singapore pressure-free, more consistent and in very ruthless mood.
The Grand Slam Champion’s trust and confidence in her team has ignited her game tenfold in 2014. Her forehand is back to being one of the most feared shots on tour and her serve is no longer viewed as an inconsistent mess but a feared consistent strike. Increased fitness and a clearer mind on court has Ivanovic not only fist pumping her glorious relentless winners, but psychologically not fearing any opponent.
Ana Ivanovic could prove the surprise package in Singapore and few would bet against her not producing more big wins. The former World number one knows that the tennis world will see her as an outsider but in her mind; Ana believes she is at Singapore with her best chance in years to lift the title.
Former World Number One and two-time US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki hits Singapore on a crest of a wave. From personal turmoil mid-season, Wozniacki has changed her career and fortune around tenfold. Increased fitness, improved agility in her footwork and a more aggressive forehand on the counterpunch has catapulted Caro back into the elite and made her a feared racket whom everyone is uncomfortable to play.
Tenacious, tactically astute and arguably the fittest player on tour – No player in the elite will want to go three sets at the end of the season, in the tours biggest Championship knowing that their next match will be against another member of the Top eight. Wozniacki brings that fear to the locker room as all players know that Caroline can outlast every player if allowed to do so.
Under such pressure of knowing you have to hit winners or force errors from Wozniacki; every player in the elite at the WTA Finals know that their game and fitness has to be primed before the match. Caroline is in Singapore to frustrate, attack your game mentally and win. Her proven track record, resurgence in form and confidence along with much less pressure on her racket than her rivals makes the 22-time WTA titlist capable of glory.
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