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Simona Halep hoping to hammer Serena Williams in WTA Tour final

Revenge may be a dish best served cold for ladies’ tennis world number one Serena Williams. Her opponent in the WTA Tour final, Simona Halep, inflicted the American’s heaviest defeat since 1998 when they met in a round robin group stage of this competition.

A Grand Slam winner on a staggering 18 occasions, Williams remains odds-on 1/2 favourite with Coral to win this tournament, but needed a tiebreak to book her spot in the final, having dropped the first set to Caroline Wozniacki in the semis.

Halep crushed Williams in straight sets (6-0 6-2), and the world number four was in similarly devastating form in the last four, where she brushed aside Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska (6-2 6-2). If punters fancy this fine Romanian export to beat Serena again, then take odds of 13/8.

Williams does hold a distinct historical advantage over Halep in recent meetings, however. She has beaten this opposition from Eastern Europe on clay, grass and hard courts, with only a Wimbledon meeting in 2011 going to a deciding set.

A straight sets win for Serena comes in at a short 6/5, especially since Halep hammered her at this event just days ago. The Romanian is 10/3 chance for a repeat performance to wrap up the women’s tour title without needing to go the distance.

Sets one and two are both 11/2 chances to go to a tiebreak, but history shows Williams and Halep have never had that kind of tension in previous encounters.

“I’m very excited to be in the finals,” said Halep after taking an hour to dismantle Radwanska. “I didn’t expect this result here and I’ve had to work very hard to play my best tennis here this week.”

The Romanian was also keen to play down the drubbing she gave Serena in Singapore during the group stage. “It’s a new day a new match so who knows what’s going to happen there,” Halep added. “I know she’ll be more focused and I just want to enjoy the final.”