By Ros Satar, in Singapore

  • Karolina Pliskova [7] def. Caroline Wozniacki [2] 6-2 6-4
  • Faces fellow winner No. 6 seed Elina Svitolina on Tuesday
SINGAPORE – A first day of upsets ensued as Karolina Pliskova powered past defending champion Caroline Wozniacki ahead of facing Elina Svitolina next.

 

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Karolina Pliskova [7] def. Caroline Wozniacki [2] 6-2 6-4

From scrambling into the line-up to taking out the defending champion, Karolina Pliskova stamped her mark on the proceedings as she took out Caroline Wozniacki with maybe just the merest wobble.

It was a dream start for the second Czech on court after Petra Kvitova struggled to make any headway against an inspired Elina Svitolina earlier in the evening. Pliskova broke early in the first set, following it straight up with a double break cushion before having to deflect the Dane’s attempts to at least stay in contention as she failed to convert on two chances to break back.

With Pliskova closing out the first set, it was a dream start for the Czech in the second set, breaking Wozniacki in the first game, before the Dane tried to put her under pressure once more. Pliskova was immovable though, trying her best to break for the match, and perhaps squandering her first couple of match points, before having to save two break points herself, as her third match point was the charm.

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Having made her debut in 2009 and of course winning the title last year, Wozniacki knew better than to panic over an opening loss and felt there were still positives she could team despite maybe missed opportunities.

“I think I didn’t start off very well. I was trying to find my rhythm out there. She started off well. But at the same time, I had I think break points in almost every single of her service games and I didn’t get any one of them.

“That was kind of disappointing, and I think obviously if I had gotten some of them, the outcome could have been different. But it wasn’t to be today. I’ll just have to go back and practice tomorrow, get some shots in, and try to do better next time.”

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Pliskova was under no illusion that this would be an easy match, as she explained after the match. She told reporters:

“You really have to beat because she’s not gonna give you anything much. Although she was missing pretty much in the first set, but the second set she played much better, and I had to really fight for it. I was just happy that I close it in the second.”

Her on-court coaching with Rennae Stubbs have been a fascinating watch. Normally the Czech players have Czech speaking coaches, but Pliskova has been adamant that having a female voice of experience in her corner has been a positive change to her team.

“I was getting a little bit frustrated with myself. So, I was, like, maybe that’s the time to call her, the positive woman (smiling). And she was actually positive, as always. She said, Look, you’re still break up, which was true, actually. So, I didn’t panic, and I closed it.”

 

READ MORE | WTA Finals 2018 | Svitolina delivers emphatic message to ‘haters’, snaps seven-match losing streak to Kvitova

WTA Finals 2018 | Svitolina delivers emphatic message to ‘haters’, snaps seven-match losing streak to Kvitova

She will expect a similar battle when she takes on Svitolina in the next round robin match on Tuesday.

“I think it’s good that I play her, so the style is very similar to Wozniacki. You know, there is going to be a lot of rallies. She’s running a lot. We know that. We played so many times. Actually, not for last year. We played Brisbane last match.

“But I saw her playing a couple of matches. She was playing actually very well today. I saw a little bit. She was fighting a lot. I didn’t see her actually playing that well for a few weeks when I was following her a little bit on tournaments. It’s going to be very tough. I know she wants to win a lot. Me too. It’s going to be great battle.”

Pliskova and Svitolina play on Tuesday, not before 9pm (2pm BST).

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