Venus gets Muguruza rematch at WTA Finals


SINGAPORE — Venus Williams will get an opportunity to avenge her Wimbledon final defeat by Garbine Muguruza at the eight-player WTA Finals after the veteran American was placed in the same round-robin group as the Spaniard at Friday's draw.

World No. 2 Muguruza swatted aside the 37-year-old 7-5, 6-0 in July to claim her second Grand Slam title and next week's showdown will be the highlight of the White Group, which also includes Czech Karolina Pliskova and French Open holder Jelena Ostapenko.

The power-packed pool, full of aggressive players armed with big serves, will open proceedings Sunday when Pliskova faces 2008 WTA Finals champion Williams, before Muguruza takes on Latvia's Ostapenko at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

"Maybe I need to channel some of those memories (from 2008) to play well here... we have an amazing field, the tournament is the best it has ever been run and the excitement level is high," Williams said at the glitzy pre-tournament gala ceremony.

World No. 1 Simona Halep was drawn in the Red Group alongside Ukraine's Elina Svitolina, Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki and in-form Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, with play in that pool starting Monday.

Halep will also have revenge in mind when she faces Garcia for the second time in three weeks after the Frenchwoman beat her in the China Open final in Beijing, a day after the Romanian became the 25th woman to climb to the top of the WTA rankings.

The elite event offers a healthy haul of points throughout the eight days of action and remarkably, seven players in the field, all excluding Garcia, have a chance to claim the prestigious season-ending No. 1 ranking.

The round-robin format will see the top two players from each pool advance to the semi-finals.


Red Group (prefix denotes seeding): 1-Simona Halep (Romania), 4-Elina Svitolina (Ukraine), 6-Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark), 8-Caroline Garcia (France).

White Group:

2-Garbine Muguruza (Spain), 3-Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic), 5-Venus Williams (United States), 7-Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia.

Muguruza Player of the Year

Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza is the WTA Player of the Year, and US Open champion Sloane Stephens has been honored as the Comeback Player of the Year.

The women's tennis tour announced the annual honors Friday. The awards are voted on by members of the media.

Other recipients include French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko as Most Improved Player, CiCi Bellis as Newcomer of the Year, and Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan as Doubles Team of the Year.

Muguruza beat Venus Williams in the Wimbledon final in July for her second Grand Slam title, then moved up to No. 1 in the rankings for the first time in September.

Dimitrov in semis

Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov moved closer to qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Germany's Mischa Zverev to reach the semifinals of the Stockholm Open Friday, setting up a clash with Fabio Fognini.

Dimitrov needed six match points to complete the victory which maintains his challenge for a debut at the season-ending championships in London next month.

Italian Fognini beat Jack Sock 6-7(3), 7-6(2), 7-5.

Kasatkina- Goerges final

Russia's Daria Kasatkina and Julia Goerges of Germany will meet in the final of the Kremlin Cup after defeating their semifinal opponents in Moscow Friday.

Kasatkina, 28th in the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) rankings, took charge early in her 6-2, 6-3 win against Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu.

Kasatkina will be joined in the final by seventh seed Goerges, who destabilized Russia's Natalia Vikhlyantseva by breaking her serve in the first game before going on to win the match 6-2, 2-6, 7-5. — Agencies