Simona "Halepeno" Halep won the Kremlin Cup today, defeating 2012 runner-up Samantha Stosur 7-6, 6-2. And why not? Having worked on her game maybe more than anyone on the tour, Halep has gone from being a respectable baseline competitor to an all-court (and all-surface) threat. Oh, she's not tall like 'Pova or Azarenka or large and muscular like Serena, and she's never going to be. But she "thinks big" on the court, and she has added a deceptive power to her groundstrokes.
For example, returning Stosur's serve--a real job for some players--was really not too difficult for Halep, and on several occasions, she used her return of serve to put Stosur on the spot. Halep, in fact, had 18 break opportunities in the match, and--to her opponent's credit--she converted "only" four of them. Also, it was Halep who delivered a consistent second serve, while Stosur struggled with hers.
Not all of the factors were between the white lines, however; some were also between the ears. Going into the final, Halep was 4-0 in finals this year, and Stosur was 5-12 in finals in her career. Each woman has now won five WTA singles titles, displaying extremes in winning patterns. Stosur, of cousse, won the U.S. Open in 2010. The Australian has had an excellent end-of-season run, winning Osaka for the second time, and getting to the final in Moscow.
Stosur was a champion today--in doubles. She and partner Svetlana Kuznetsova took the Moscow title when they defeated 2nd seeds Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Rodionova 6-1, 1-6, 10-8. The Moscow title is Stosur's 24th in doubles.
Caroline Wozniacki returned to her winning ways in Luxembourg, defeating first-time finalist Annika Beck 6-2, 6-2. Stephanie Vogt and Yanina Wickmayer won the doubles title. They defeated Kristina Barrois and Laura Thorpe 7-6, 6-4 in the final.