Serena roars back

Serena roars back

It was as if she had a point to prove.

After suffering her worst defeat in 16 years against Simona Halep on Wednesday, world No. 1 Serena Williams was back to her rip-roaring best last night, routing a hapless Eugenie Bouchard 6-1, 6-1 in their Red Group round-robin match at the BNP Paribas Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Finals Singapore presented by SC Global last night.

The 33-year-old reigning champion finished her group challenge with a 2-1 win/loss record, but she could still miss out on the semi-finals tomorrow, based on today's results, although Williams (right) insisted there will be no nail-biting on her part.

The 2001, 2009, 2012 and 2013 WTA champion coolly said, after her win last night: "You know, I'm okay. It's out of my hands.

"The last thing I'm going to do is stress out about it... I'm not going to fall out and die.

"At least I won my last match, to get ready for next year.

"I feel like 2015 has got to be a better year for me. I believe that and I'm ready for that.

"I'll definitely practise (tomorrow) of course... then I'll just relax, and maybe go see Mariah Carey."

The American pop diva will be performing at the National Stadium tonight as part of the WTA Finals festivities, and it looks as if she may well have a superstar athlete among the audience.

But, for the hordes of Williams' fans here, it will be an anxious time as they wait for events to unfold at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Williams needs world No. 4 Halep - who has already qualified - to win at least one set in her match against seventh-ranked Ana Ivanovic tonight.

Ivanovic will go through at Williams' expense if she beats the Romanian in straight sets.

Williams was clearly at ease post-match last night, cracking up with her minders as she casually strode into the press conference room.

What a difference 24 hours make.

Williams admitted the 6-0, 6-2 thrashing by Halep struck a huge blow to her confidence.

The 18-time Grand Slam champion said yesterday: "I was really disappointed in my play.

"I don't really recover well from losses, but I had a really long talk with Patrick (Mouratoglou, her coach) and he was telling me what I needed to do and get over it.

"His belief was really key, because I was feeling mighty low.

"I know that sounds weird, even though I've won so many titles, but I still feel at some point like: 'Oh gosh, maybe I might not be able to do this or that... Especially after a loss and especially after the way I performed yesterday'.

"So I definitely don't think I would've been able to survive today if it wasn't for Patrick."

Not surprisingly, there was hell to pay when Williams took to the court last night.

And Bouchard was in the firing line.

The 20-year-old Canadian had lost her first two matches, and even though she recovered from 0-40 to take the opening game of the match, it proved a false dawn. Williams went on to win the next 11 games. That rocket serve was also back, on one occasion clocking 205 kmh, much to the delight of the fans.

The victory was wrapped up in just under an hour.

It was exactly the response needed by one of tennis' all-time greats, even if Williams is not guaranteed a spot in the last four.

This article was first published on October 24, 2014.
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