By Ros Satar

  • Garbiñe Muguruza & Venus Williams battle it out for the second qualifying spot
  • Karoline Pliskova still very much in the race to retake the World No. 1 spot
SINGAPORE – It all comes down to this for Garbiñe Muguruza and Venus Williams as a chance to make it to the semi-final beckons.

 

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Garbiñe Muguruza [2] v Venus Williams [5] – H2H: Williams leads 3-2

Despite appearances to the contrary at least as far as press conferences are concerned, Venus Williams went all out to oust Jelena Ostapenko from the scene on the Latvian’s debut at the WTA Finals.

Quite aside from the fact that Ostapenko was still in nappies at two years old when Williams was making her season-ending debut, experience, she gave the seven-time Grand Slam champion a few pauses for thought.

Yet it was her champion’s mentality that kicked into gear, no matter how reticent she was to share her thoughts on the match, but while there might have been a little luck involved, there was also a gritty determination to win matches, like she said at the pre-tournament press conference.

Garbine Muguruza, WTA Finals 2017, Singapore

Garbine Muguruza, WTA Finals 2017, Singapore (c) Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Curiously though, where we thought we would be in for another bruiser of a match, Karolina Pliskova effectively steam-rollered over a flat Garbiñe Muguruza giving the Wimbledon champion a bit of a double headache, in having to beat Williams once more to give herself a chance at a big prize.

Williams has the edge over hard courts, and while Muguruza did work for her first round win over Ostapenko, she will need to find some kind of gear for this match-up.

They are both very similar in their game play – they can control play well from the back of the court with powerful and accurate shot-making, they can both come in well at the net, and both can switch between these styles which could be key on a court like this.

If there was ever a time that experience and desire were a factor, then this would be it. Williams may have acted like she has no desire to do any of the boring post-match stuff, but you would not make this trip at the end of a long year if you did not want to be here.

Muguruza has shown real consistency after a big win – something we know it has been a struggle for her to click in to in the past – and she will need to show all of that determination to push Williams to the limit.

Prediction: Williams in three sets.

 

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Karolina Pliskova [2] v Jelena Ostapenko [7] | H2H: Pliskova leads 2-0

Karolina Pliskova, WTA Finals Singapore 2017

Karolina Pliskova 2017 WTA Finals, Singapore (c) Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Pliskova has really set her marker to be the one to beat, and was in dominating form against Muguruza. However, her third round battle with Ostapenko at the Australian Open, going to 10-8 in the third round may make a mockery of her wanting to play an enjoyable match.

While she has already qualified, and Ostapenko will be playing for pride, there is still a shot at the World No. 1 spot at stake. She might want to enjoy the match more than the last two, and could still throw up some challenges.

Prediction: Pliskova in two sets.

Pliskova v Ostapenko is scheduled not before 4pm (9am BST) with Muguruza & Williams not before 7:30pm (12:30pm BST).

Main Image: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

 

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