Both Venus Williams and Jelena Ostapenko lost in their opening matches of the 2017 WTA Finals Singapore, however there’s no time to mull about it as the round robin stage allows for a loss or two. Between two huge hitters, who can notch a huge win here and keep their hopes of qualifying for the semifinals alive?
 Venus Williams (No.5) vs  Jelena Ostapenko (No.7)
Williams’ route to this stage
RR1: i. Karolina Pliskova, 2-6 2-6
Ostapenko’s route to this stage
RR1: i. Garbine Muguruza, 3-6 4-6
Venus Williams has largely dominated the Grand Slams this year, reaching the second week of all of the four, including finals at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and the semifinals in the US Open. Known as the fifth Slam of the year, Venus’ hasn’t been able to translate her dominance here yet though, falling in the first stage in a disappointing 2-6 2-6 loss to Karolina Pliskova. It’s not time to get disappointed over it for Williams though, 2015 and 2016 WTA Finals champions Agnieszka Radwanska and Dominika Cibulkova will tell her that though, as they all qualified for the semifinals and eventually won the whole thing with a 1-2 record in the round robin stage. But, there are definitely a couple of areas to work on for her though. Six double faults definitely wouldn’t help her cause, including two at a crucial game where Pliskova got the early advantage. Also, Venus looked a little fatigued on court and was largely impatient and patchy in rallies. She will have to step it up against a player who hits a huge ball as well in Jelena Ostapenko…
She does hit a huge ball does she Jelena Ostapenko, but that didn’t help her in her first round robin match in her career against Garbine Muguruza. Although producing scintillating shots that got loads of cheers from the crowds, it was mostly unforced errors from her as she failed to get a foothold in the match. Although producing a slight comeback from 2-5 to 4-5 in the second set, she will definitely rue that missed backhand… Ostapenko also mentioned that she was struggling with the bounce of the court and the slow conditions, and playing on this court for the first time definitely cost her the match as well.
Head to head: Williams won their only previous encounter this year, a 6-3 7-5 win over the lawns at Wimbledon.
Stat: Maybe not a very interesting stat but Venus and Ostapenko are the oldest and youngest players at this year’s WTA Finals. According to the WTA, when Venus made her first appearance at the Finals, Ostapenko was only two!
Thoughts: I agree that Venus needed more matches coming into the Finals – her only tournament after the US Open was the Hong Kong Open, where she only played two matches. However it also seems that the American has lost a little energy coming into the end of the season – I mean, she’s 37, playing at such a high level at this age is definitely very impressive! Ostapenko actually did play a decent match and I think that would have helped her get adapted to the conditions. Against Venus who isn’t the best player at defense, if the Latvian manages to get the first strike in rallies and make Williams commit more errors, the win would be Ostapenko’s.