Time to sweat, ladies

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Time to sweat, ladies
Seated from left : Serena Williams; Maria Sharapova ; Petra Kvitova; Simona Halep; Eugenie Bouchard; Agnieszka Radwanska ; Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki.
They've shown off various colours of mascara, lipstick and rouge.

And diamond jewellery.

They've had their hair fashionably tied up, or fashionably let down.

Pumps and intimidating stilettos, smart vests, the little black dress, glamorous evening wear, glamorous smiles and English in exotic accents, it has all been on show.

Amid the heat, humidity and haze, they have dazzled off court over the last few days and, starting tonight, they will begin to really sweat, as they get down to business at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The best eight women in tennis are about to lock horns at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, and the country expects.

Never before has Singapore witnessed such a level of competition in tennis, these are women we've previously seen only in intense combat on TV or YouTube - the famous grunts of Sharapova, the hushed "oooohhh" of the crowd after a rocket-propelled forehand winner by Serena, or the stylish fist pump of Ana after winning a smartly-crafted point.

Tennis fans here have been used to one-off contests of fun and exhibition, but this is different, this is not some end-of-season jaunt to newly-hip Singapore for some friendly sport. This is serious business.

These eight women are focused on the most important prize after the four Grand Slams, we get to see the greatest exponents of the current game wield their rackets in world-class style, Singapore's young tennis dreamers will witness what it is like at the most rarified level of the sport.

World No. 1 Serena Williams is after records, aiming to become the first person to win the WTA Finals crown three times on the trot.

The American is 33 and, quite remarkably, still hungry to occupy even more space in the history books.

She is the oldest in the field, she has honed her serve to become the most vicious in the history of women's tennis and she is the most powerful athlete in the game.

The other part of her armoury is her considerable experience and I asked Williams yesterday how it helps her out on court.

"I think there's a lot of players here who have a tremendous amount of experience; there are several Grand Slam champions. I think the experience is great; it helps me to be able to win matches; helps me to be able to stay calm on the court," she said.

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