Singapore: Serena Williams was routed 6-0, 6-2 by Simona Halep at the WTA Finals on Wednesday in one of the most one-sided losses of the 18-time Grand Slam champion's career.
The last time Williams managed to win just two games in a WTA Tour or Grand Slam match was in 1998 when she was just 16."Embarrassing describes the way I played today," Williams said. "Very embarrassing."
The loss in the round-robin match snapped Williams' 16-match winning streak at the year-end championships, where she is the two-time defending champion. The 6-0 first set was the first time since the 2008 championships that Williams had lost a set by that score, against sister Venus.
"My forehand was off today," Williams said. "It's obviously gone on an early vacation. My serve was at best at the 10-and-under division of juniors." The fourth-ranked Halep had never before beaten a player ranked in the top 3. In her previous two matches against Williams, both last year, the Romanian had won a total of seven games.
For a player who was ranked No. 47 two years ago, Wednesday's win over No. 1 Williams represented a new career high. "It was my best match of my life," Halep said. "I played unbelievable shots. It means a lot this match. At an important time I played really well, and after today my confidence will be more high."
Halep, runner-up at this year's French Open, beat Eugenie Bouchard in her opening match and moves to 2-0 in the Red Group. Williams slips to 1-1 and will face Bouchard next.
Halep has been careful not to raise her sights too high at this tournament. She remained cautious even after two dominant victories. "I have confidence I can get to the semifinals," Halep said. "First I have to forget this day, but it will be hard to forget. I am so happy."
Williams served six double-faults in the opening set and had 36 unforced errors -- three times Halep's total. But the key to the result was the performance on break points. Both players had six: Williams took none of them while Halep converted five.
Williams was surprised by Halep's performance, saying "she has never played like this before." "To be frankly honest, I am looking forward to our next meeting because she is going to make me go home, train hard and particularly train for her," Williams said.