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WTA Finals semis preview: Simona Halep hungry for more

World number two Maria Sharapova is the biggest name to exit the WTA Finals in Singapore, after losing two of her three White Group games, with Ana Ivanovic, Petra Kvitova and Eugenie Bouchard also out.

Simona Halep and Serena Williams qualified from the Red Group for the semi-finals, and will face Agnieszka Radwanska and Caroline Wozniacki respectively.

Simona Halep v Agnieszka Radwanska
Halep caused the shock of the tournament so far, by absolutely annihilating four-time champion of this competition Williams 6-0 6-2, which is the latter’s heaviest defeat since 1998.

The 23-year-old Romanian now goes into her first Tour Finals semis as the 11/4 tournament second-favourite, after topping the Red Group, following her opening victory over Bouchard too. She lost the last battle to Ivanovic, having already qualified, but the Serb needed to win in straight sets to knock out Williams.

Poland’s Radwanska, 25, who was expected to struggle in a tough-looking White Group after a poor season, progressed behind Wozniacki, despite winning just one of her three matches.

Radwanska (8/1 WTA Finals outsider) goes into this meeting with the upper hand, though, having beaten Halep in four of their six head-to-heads, and will hope to better her semi-final defeat at this tournament in 2012.

Halep, however, has won the only encounter between the duo in Asia, this year at the Qatar Open, and in straight sets.

Caroline Wozniacki v Serena Williams
Wozniacki remains the only undefeated player left in the competition, after dropping just one set to Sharapova in her opening match, and the 2010 runner-up is a decent shout at 9/2 to go all the way this time.

“I believe in myself and I believe in my skills. I’ve been playing well, so I believed I could beat anyone,” the Dane and former girlfriend of golf star Rory McIlroy said.

She just so happens to be facing world number one and 18-time Grand Slam champion Williams (odds-on at 4/5 for her third successive WTA Finals trophy), though, and has won just one of their 10 meetings.

“My match-up against [Williams] so far hasn’t been great. I won once and lost like 10 times, or nine, I don’t know. I don’t even count anymore,” she added.

“But it’s a new tournament. It’s a new week. I’ve been playing well really. Again, I believe that if I play like I did today, doesn’t matter who’s on the other side. I can win.”