Karolina Pliskova recovers to beat defending champion Wozniacki at WTA Finals

Karolina Pliskova recovers to beat defending champion Wozniacki at WTA Finals

Elina Svitolina needed nothing more than a consistent performance to open her WTA Finals campaign with a 6-3 6-3 victory over Petra Kvitova.

Before Sunday Svitolina had won just one set in seven straight harrowing defeats to the Czech but turned the tables to issue a warning to her rivals in White Group.

Wozniacki survived a tight service game, saving two match points, to reduce her second-set deficit to 5-4 but could not prevent Pliskova serving for victory. "These are the best players this season, so there are no easy matches in this tournament".

"I'm just not feeling good", said Svitolina after returning.

"It's very nice to be back in Singapore and I'm very, very happy with the match tonight", Svitolina told the crowd.

"I had to really stay focused and be strong mentality". I had to play quickly and keep moving my feet so I need a massage now. The Ukrainian, who posted the second-lowest amount of match wins of all the eight qualifiers, clinched her 40th success in 2018 at WTA level. Six of Kvitova's seven double faults came in the first set.

"Matches against Caroline are always tough and the last time we played here, I had a lot of chances but did not convert them", added Pliskova, who saved all 10 break points the Dane forged against her.

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The Czech surrendered her serve in the opening game of the match but managed to recoup the break in the next game.

- If Svitolina wins in straight sets and Wozniacki wins in three sets, Svitolina qualifies (position TBD).

The 24-year-old is playing in her second successive WTA Finals, while former victor Kvitova qualified for the first time since 2015.

Apart from Wimbledon champion Kerber and 2017 U.S. Open victor Stephens, Osaka will also face Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens, who was named as the WTA's Most Improved Player of the Year on Friday, in the Red Group after the draw for the season-ending event was made at a glitzy gala ceremony in Singapore.

Svitolina said her win was an answer to any suggestions she didn't deserve to play here, having qualified so late for the draw.

A composed Svitolina made just four unforced errors in the opening set in a notable contrast to her error-riddled opponent, who struggled badly on serve and conceded the first set after her fifth double-fault.

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