Keys vs. Halep
|Date & Time||Sunday October 23, 2016, 9:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
|TV Channel||Stream live sports and ESPN originals on-demand on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
Simona Halep and Madison Keys meet in the first match of the tennis 2016 WTA Championships.
Simona Halep enters this tournament in terrific form and has had success in the WTA Finals after making the final in 2014. Halep is coming off a quick exit in Beijing, but did make the semifinals in Wuhan and Cincinnati, while making the quarterfinals in New York. Halep is playing some of the cleaner tennis she’s played in quite some time and has improved her service game as well. Halep has now won 12 of her last 18 sets and is going to be tough to beat if she can continue to get 60 percent or better of her first serves in play. Halep is 24-10 on hard court this season and the quick surface in Singapore compliments her playing style. Halep has won 10 of her last 14 matches on hard court.
Madison Keys and her No. 7 ranking in the world is the highest it’s ever been and she’s in the WTA Finals for the first time in her career. Keys has 13 matches under her belt since the US Open and has to be thrilled with the opportunity standing in front of her. Keys is pegged as the next best American once Serena Williams starts to fall off, and this is her chance to prove she really has what it takes. Keys is always a question mark entering matches, as she has the power to overwhelm just about anybody on tour but unforced errors tend to determine the outcome. If Keys can control her power and not help her opponent, she’s more than capable of beating anybody in the world on any surface. Keys has won six of her last eight matches on hard court.
These two have met five times in the past and Halep has won four of those meetings. The most recent match took place in the quarterfinals in Wuhan of this year, a match Halep won in straight sets. Keys only victory over Help came in Sydney of 2014.
This is a bad matchup for Keys because Halep is the player who always makes you hit extra balls. The more Keys has to hit and extend the rallies, the higher percentage of unforced errors goes up. Not to mention Halep has won the last four matchups against Keys, which includes a match just a few weeks ago. Halep is going to make Keys play long rallies if she wants to win and that’s simply not her game.
I’ll take Halep in two competitive sets.