Angelique Kerber Leads Red Group in Singapore’s Tour Finals

The World No. 1 has an excellent chance of advancing to the knockout stages at the 2016 WTA World Tour Finals.

Angelique Kerber has not won a tournament as the World No. 1 player yet. However, she’s part way to the final at the 2016 WTA World Tour Finals in Singapore. Kerber has won both of her round-robin matches thus far and can sweep them on Thursday with a win over Madison Keys.

Heading into Thursday, the standings in the Red Group are as follows:

  1. Kerber, 2-0 match record, 4-1 sets record, 27-21 games record
  2. Madison Keys, 1-1, 2-2, 18-17
  3. Simona Halep, 1-1, 2-2, 18-18
  4. Dominika Cibulkova, 0-2, 1-4, 20-27

Tiebreaker scenarios are tedious in some ways, but if you want to know what the significance of a match is then they need to be considered. None of these four players is eliminated as of yet, including the 0-2 Cibulkova.

She will face Halep on Thursday in need of a straight-sets victory to bolster her chances. Then she would need to hope that Kerber beats Keys so that the bottom three players end up 1-2 for a match record. In that case the first tiebreaker is sets won vs. sets lost. After that the 2nd tiebreaker is games won vs. games lost. If Cibulkova wins in straight sets and Keys loses in straight sets to Kerber then the pocket rocket would be through with a 3-4 sets record trumping 2-4 from Halep and Keys.

There is still a scenario where Kerber fails to make the knock-out stages, however it is a remote one. First, she would need to lose to Keys with Halep defeating Cibulkova. That would create a situation where the top-three players would be 2-1 and tiebreaker scenarios would enter.

If Kerber loses in straight sets then Keys, by entailment, would win in straight sets. That would give the American the tiebreaker based on sets won vs. sets lost. If Halep defeats Cibulkova in straight sets then the Romanian would beat Kerber on the first tiebreaker as well. To keep things simple, Kerber winning one set sends her through to the knock-out stages. Furthermore, if Halep loses one set it would guarantee that Kerber goes through as well.

Kerber has done really well against Keys on head-to-heads. The German leads the American 5-1 at this point in their careers. The only loss came on grass while Kerber is a perfect 4-0 on the cement. Most recently they met in the semifinals of the Rio Olympics where Kerber took away a straight-sets victory without the need of a tiebreaker in either set. Even in the match that the German lost to Keys, Kerber did win a set so a straight-sets loss to the American is without precedent. Accordingly it would be shocking to see Kerber not make the knockout stages.

The order of play for Thursday sees Halep and Cibulkova in the afternoon session with a start time of not before 4pm in Singapore. Kerber and Keys will meet in the evening session (not before 7:30pm).


Shane Lambert