SINGAPORE (REUTERS) - One day after suffering her heaviest defeat since she was a teenager, Serena Williams was back to her brilliant best as she swatted aside Eugenie Bouchard 6-1, 6-1 in her final round-robin match at the WTA Finals on Thursday.
The world No. 1 was humiliated 6-0, 6-2 by Romania's Simona Halep on Singapore's purple hard court on Wednesday but put herself on the brink of a semi-final berth with the crushing victory over her hapless Canadian opponent.
Williams, who beat Ana Ivanovic in her opening match on Monday, has two wins and a loss and needs Halep just to win one set against the Serb on Friday to advance to the last four.
Halep is already assured of her place in the semis, while Bouchard has been eliminated from the tournament after three straight defeats.
Williams appeared lethargic and lacking motivation in her defeat against the feisty counter-puncher Halep but made sure there would be no repeat of her "embarrassing" loss against the youngest player in the elite eight-woman field.
The 33-year-old forced three break points immediately and while Bouchard battled back to win a game that ensured Halep advanced to the semi-finals, Williams exuded focus and aggression as she set about dismantling her opponent.
"Yesterday was tough for me but I had to put that behind me and my coach really helped me out to recover from that," Williams said in a courtside interview.
"He told me I needed to focus on today and that I was still in the tournament. I actually felt like I was out of the tournament so it was good advice."
Williams gave the 20-year-old a tennis lesson she would not forget over the course of the 59-minute thumping, breaking the Canadian's serve at will to race through the next 11 games to move 6-1, 5-0 ahead in what seemed like the blink of an eye.
Bouchard, who at one stage could only look on in awe as a 205kmh ace zoomed past her, finally stopped the rot and held serve after being broken five straight times to stave off the inevitable but Williams wrapped up the one-sided contest with a huge serve in the next game.
"I decided I was up 4-0 so I may as well go for a big serve and see what happens, I just tried to hit it as hard as I could," Williams said of her monster serve.
With the win, she also remains on course to hold on to her No. 1 ranking with her only rival, Maria Sharapova, facing an early exit from the tournament after the Russian lost her second straight contest earlier on Thursday.