BNP Paribas WTA Finals, Singapore
DAY ONE ROUND ROBIN: [CR2] Simona Halep (ROU) vs. [CR8] Flavia Pennetta (ITA)
We were fortunate enough to get to Singapore during the WTA Finals and doubly lucky to see Pennetta play in her last tournament. Although it was not a good showing for the 2015 US Open Champion, we got to see some of her fighting spirit as she tried to rally from a bagel first set against Simona Halep. She was in the second set and had numerous opportunities to steal the set and force a third; however, she was perhaps a tad overwhelmed by the magnitude of the occasion.
So much has happened for Pennetta this year. She got to her first Major Final in singles, and won her first Major title in singles. In addition, she was in her first ever WTA Tour Finals in singles. In 2011 she was in the WTA Championships with partner Gisela Dulko (ARG) and lost in the semifinals, but that same year they won the Australian Open. She and Dulko also won the WTA Championship in doubles in 2010, so she was familiar with the atmosphere of the year-end tournament, although not as a singles player, which was perhaps a bit more daunting.
Pennetta was more well-known for her success on the doubles circuit, winning 17 career titles in singles to only 11 in singles; however, I always felt she was a much better singles player than her results. Thus, I was extremely happy for her when she won the US Open this year, it confirmed my suspicions that she had the game to be amongst the top singles players. It’s a pity that success came at the end of her career. Nevertheless, it’s better late than never and probably feels that much more special after all these years of sacrifice.
We wish Flavia Pennetta all the best in her future endeavors and will miss watching her on Tour.