WTA Finals: Cibulkova beats Halep in straight sets to keep semi-final hopes alive

Dominika Cibulkova celebrates after beating Simona Halep during the singles round robin match of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Oct 27, 2016.
Dominika Cibulkova celebrates after beating Simona Halep during the singles round robin match of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Oct 27, 2016. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - World No. 8 Dominika Cibulkova beat fourth-ranked Simona Halep 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore on Thursday (Oct 27) to keep her semi-final hopes alive.

The Slovak needed to win in straight sets in her final group match for a chance to reach the last four of the US$7 million (S$9.75 million) season-ender presented by SC Global.

She started the match in fine form, breaking Halep early and winning 12 straight points to lead 3-0 in the first set.

After overpowering the Romanian with her fast-paced strokes, Cibulkova held her nerve in a tight second set to eventually prevail.

Her win means world No. 1 Angelique Kerber of Germany, who is undefeated in the Red Group so far, progresses to the knock-out round. Halep, a finalist in 2014, has been eliminated from this year's tournament.

Cibulkova, who had lost to the Kerber and No. 7 Madison Keys in her earlier group stage matches, will reach the semi-finals only if Kerber beats Keys in straight sets in the second singles match on Thursday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

But if the American takes a set off Kerber, she will advance to the semi-finals at the expense of Cibulkova.