Singapore’s Tennis Extravaganza

Some of my earliest and favourite childhood memories include watching Wimbledon (on TV), especially the intense matches between Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.  So when it was announced in early 2013, that Singapore would host the 2014 WTA Finals, I knew I was in for a real treat!

Tennis super-stars, past and present, arrived in the Lion City mid-October for the first ever WTA Finals to be held in Singapore. Local tennis fans can rejoice as this event is a confirmed feature on the Singapore sports calendar for the next 4 years.

8 top ranked women’s singles players and women’s doubles teams took part in the tournament held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

During the group matches, world-class tennis was on display with champions like Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniaki and others, battling it out for a spot in the semis. It was interesting to note that most of these players were visiting Singapore for the first time.

The grand finale of the WTA Finals was held last evening – Sunday, 26th October 2014.

The evening started with a lot of fanfare and the crowd waited anxiously for the first match of the evening – the Doubles Final between Cara Black-Sania Mirza (seeded 3rd) and Su-Wei Pseih-Shuai Peng (seeded 2nd).

The crowd roared enthusiastically as tennis icon Martina Navratilova walked on to the court and performed the coin toss. The ageless Martina looked radiant!

Martina Navratilova with the Doubles finalists after the coin toss

Martina Navratilova with the Doubles finalists after the coin toss

Cara Black and Sania Mirza were extremely well co-ordinated with Sania powerful at the baseline and Cara timing her dropshots perfectly at the net.

Doubles Final in progress

Doubles Final in progress

It took Black-Mirza just over an hour to defeat their opponents 6-1, 6-0. They took home the Martina Navratilova Trophy along with a bouquet of a specially created hybrid orchid named after them. I’m sure they’ve never received a prize like that before!

Cara Black and Sania Mirza walking off court with their well deserved trophy

Cara Black and Sania Mirza walking off court with their well deserved trophy

Soon, it was time for the much-awaited Singles Final between top seed Serena Williams (US) and World #3 Simona Halep of Romania. Simona had served Serena a shocking defeat (6-0, 6-2) during the group stage match, the heaviest loss Serena has faced in 16 years. The nature of the group matches and the semi-final results meant that Serena would face Simona again in the final. Fans agnonized over the outcome of this repeat encounter.

Another tennis luminary, the ever-gracious Chris Evert performed the coin toss.

Chris Evert with Serena Williams and Simona Halep after the coin toss

Chris Evert with Serena Williams and Simona Halep after the coin toss

The match began to the loud chants of ‘Simona, Simona!’

Despite the overwhelming fan support for the Romanian player, Serena powered through the match, handing Simona a crushing 6-0, 6-3 defeat. A superlative performance by Serena, who has now regained her no. 1 ranking. Better luck next time Simona!

The two players shaking hands at the end of the match

The two finalists shaking hands at the end of the match

Serena received her Billie Jean King trophy from the titan herself.

Billie Jean King walking on court for the award ceremony

Billie Jean King walking on court for the award ceremony

A jubiliant Serena!

A jubiliant Serena!

To see Billie Jean King, Chris Evert and Serena Williams on one stage was almost unreal. The WTA Finals 2014 was a spectacular event from start to finish!

So if you’re a tennis fan in Asia, be sure to make your way to Singapore next year. See you then! 🙂

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