Number three seed Maria Sharapova produced an emphatic performance to beat Simona Halep 6-4, 6-4 in their Red Group fixture at the WTA Finals on Tuesday.
Halep, who has had this uncanny ability to fall at the final hurdle throughout the season, has had more seeds of doubt planted in her mind after Tuesday's performance, which was not impressive in any respect.
The Romanian pocket-rocket served poorly, she returned poorly and simply could not create enough opportunities against the five-time grand slam singles champion. The final set score of 6-4 actually flatters Halep, who was in fact trailing 5-1, with Sharapova serving to win the match.
Halep gave indications as early as the second game in the first set, that her serve would come into question, after slipping to 0-30 straight away. While she managed to claw her way back in that game, she failed to exploit the opportunity to seal the game and stumbled at her first break point.
The next six games of the set went according to serve but Halep was found wanting once again in the tenth game of the match. She saved her first two set points but Sharapova's desire carried her through when the situation demanded it.
For the first six games of the second set, Halep just wasn't able to gather any meaningful momentum on serve. While the Romanian produced some heroics during the business end of the match, she simply did not have enough in the tank to spark the comeback she needed.