My favorite person today

5-2, set point, what to do?

WTA finals, Singapore, 2014. Two days ago Simona Halep crushed world no. 1 Serena Williams 6-0 6-2, an extremely rare score of such a magnitude. Admittedly, Serena seemed not to be at 100% healthwise, yet she rebounded afterwards thrashing talented Eugenie Bouchard 6-1 6-1.

The round robin system means all 4 players in the group play 3 matches, the best two scorelines advance to the semifinals. With Simona, Serena and Ana Ivanovic all beating Eugenie, Serena having won against Ana in the first match, it comes down to the last game between Simona and Ana.

Simona needs to win 4 or 5 games to win the group. Ana needs to win in 2 sets to advance together with Simona and kick Serena out in the process.

Simona goes up to 5-2 in the first set. She thus wins the group. Has set point – if she wins it though, indirectly it means Serena advances no matter who wins this match.

She falters.
Loses the game.
And the next 3 games.
Eventually they go into tie-break. Ana wins the set.

Some smarty-pants on Twitter start bashing her for dropping the set and “making a mockery of the game”, just to avoid the possibility of meeting Serena again – everyone knows that catching her off-side again is unlikely. Others point out that it is not in her best interest to go 3 sets, as her semifinal is tomorrow. So…

So… what? Simona wins the second set 6-3.
And… loses the third, 3-6.

Let’s recap: She keeps Serena in contest, goes 3 sets tiring herself before the all-important semifinal, and loses the match. Who’d do that?

Someone who PLAYS FAIR. Gives it all. No matter what. A champion, in other words.

“I knew that if I lose something like 6-3 6-3 Serena would be out. I didn’t care. I’m not afraid to meet her again.”

Simona Halep, my favorite person today.



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