What happened these last two weeks was that Williams had a table that was perfectly set leading up to the final. Despite, playing in the bracket labeled the “Group of Death,” Williams was able to avoid the six Grand Slam champions in the group (Kerber, Maria Sharapova, Garbiñe Muguruza, Ashleigh Barty, Samantha Stosur and Svetlana Kuznetsova). The final against 27-year-old Halep, the No. 7 seed, was Williams’ first match of the two-week tournament against a player considered to be on her level.
Sharapova knew that high-risk tactics were her only chance against a stronger, faster and more intelligent opponent, but they were responsible for her countless errors throughout.