I’ve made no secret of my hope that Madison Keys and Simona Halep make the semifinals of the 2016 WTA Finals out of the Red Group. Unfortunately, there is only one scenario in which that can happen. Maddie took care of Dominika Cibulkova 6-1 6-4 on day three, but Simona fell to Angelique Kerber, 6-4 6-2. That leaves Angie at 2-0, Simona at 1-1, Maddie at 1-1 and Domi at 0-2 so far in round robin play. On Thursday, Maddie plays Angie while Simona plays Domi. Based on tiebreaker rules, for Halep and Keys to both advance, each has to win their match on Thursday in straight sets. Even though Halep should be favored to beat Cibulkova, Domi plays her very well. That could go three sets. And if Simona does manage to beat Domi in straight sets in Thursday’s first match, Angie will know she needs to at least win one set against Maddie to advance. It will be tough enough for Keys to try to beat world #1 Kerber. If Angie knows she needs to put her foot on the gas, it will be extremely difficult on Maddie. But these are the kind of matches that can be career breakthroughs.
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DOUBLES DRAW CEREMONY
1 ANGELIQUE KERBER d. 3 Simona Halep, 6-4 6-2
6 MADISON KEYS d. 7 Dominika Cibulkova, 6-1 6-4