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WTA Finals Rewind: Halep beats Serena, then Serena beats Halep for 2014 title
Just four days after losing to the Romanian in the round robin stage, 6-0, 6-2, Serena turned the tables with an almost-as-ruthless 6-3, 6-0 victory in the final.
Published Oct 28, 2022
This week we’re looking back at five of the most unforgettable moments in the history of the WTA Finals, with the 2022 edition of the season-ending event championships kicking off in Fort Worth, Texas in just a few days.
We’ve already covered Monica Seles’ five-set victory over Gabriela Sabatini in the 1990 final, Steffi Graf’s marathon win over Martina Hingis in another five-setter in the 1996 final, Maria Sharapova’s come-from-behind triumph over Serena Williams in the 2004 final and, most recently, Venus Williams taking out the entire Top 3 players on the WTA rankings en route to the title in 2008.
Last but certainly not least, a classic tale of revenge…
Halep beats Serena, then Serena beats Halep for 2014 title
Going into the WTA Finals in Singapore in 2014, Serena Williams was a quarter of the way through her second Serena Slam, having just won the US Open and about to sweep the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon the next year.
That made her 6-0, 6-2 loss to Simona Halep in the round robin stage of the WTA Finals even more shocking—not only was Serena playing some of the best tennis of her career, but by putting only two games on the board that day, it was actually tied for the most lopsided defeat of her career at the time.
“Personally I’ve never seen her play like this, ever,” Serena said afterwards.
“I’ve been practicing really, really well and hitting the ball really solid. I don’t think I hit solid today, but again, she took balls early and she played really, really solid.”
But at the WTA Finals, even if you lose a round robin match, you’re not out yet.
“I feel like once you lose you should be out of the event,” Serena said.
"But I’m still hanging in there, so we’ll see what happens.”
And she most certainly hung in there, qualifying for the semifinals with a 2-1 round robin record then edging Caroline Wozniacki, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6), to reach the final.
Where, perhaps fittingly, Halep awaited.
And this time, it was all Serena—just four days after suffering one of the worst defeats of her career to Halep, she got her back in almost as dominant fashion, winning 11 of the last 12 games of the match en route to a 6-3, 6-0 victory and her third consecutive (and fifth overall) WTA Finals crown.
“I knew that she would be more motivated during this match because we played a few days ago and I won that match,” Halep said after the final.
“She’s the best. She’s a great player, and she deserves to win this title.”
“I knew I had to step up my game,” Serena said. “I knew I had to play a lot better, so obviously I was expecting a much better player than I was in the earlier rounds.”
It’s still the only time in WTA Finals history that a player lost to another player in the round robin stage in straight sets and then came back to beat them in the final.