By Ros Satar, in Singapore
- Elina Svitolina  v Karolina Pliskova 
- H2H: Pliskova leads 5-2
SINGAPORE – The qualification scenarios start as Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova battle for the top spot in the White group at the WTA Finals.
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Elina Svitolina  v Karolina Pliskova  | H2H: Pliskova leads 5-2
Despite getting a famous win over Petra Kvitova, Elina Svitolina came over dizzy and faint in her press conference, so a lot will depend on how she recovers. Her coach, Andrew Bettles, played down the incident.
He said: “Yeah, I think she was a little bit dizzy. We practiced this afternoon. She was fine.”
Last year her performance was sub-par given the kind of consistency she had shown throughout the year, and Bettles had his theory as to why that might have been.
He continued: “It was a different scenario coming in this year. Last year she had an amazing year. She was absolutely one of the favourites for the tournament. She came in and then lost the first matches, and then it was a bit of a shock because no one really expected that. It was nice on the flip turn this year to come out and have a great first match.
“In terms of not deserving it, it’s math, isn’t it, from January to the end? So I don’t think that comes into it. What’s been nice is in the last few days is a bit of a relief she made it, because we didn’t actually know until Wednesday, so the last couple of weeks we have been checking everything and then even the Moscow week it was out of her hands.
“So, she was playing with a little bit of no pressure, because when it’s out of your hands, you fear the worst, right, that you’re not going to be in it? When we found out she was in, it was with relief and she can just go out there and play now. So I think you saw a little bit of that yesterday.”
Here the odds might be a little more in Svitolina’s favour. Before her dizzy spell, she came out looking very motivated and it was almost like she had a thing to prove to the ‘haters’ who may have felt she did not belong in this elite gathering.
She arrested a 0-5 losing streak to the big serving Karolina Pliskova in Rome last year and has won the last two encounters on the bounce. Her steady game, and movement – in fact everything about her game screams (well, mutters forcefully) consistency, and again against a higher risk player like Pliskova, she can make up ground.
While Pliskova can finish off points very nicely at the net, she always seems to be reluctant to do so, and her coach Rennae Stubbs shared some insight into how she is beginning to turn that tide.
Stubbs explained: “She’s got those big old long limbs and she tends to take one big step as opposed to two little ones and make the volley easier. It’s teaching her, yes, you can actually hit that volley a lot easier. You don’t have to make it that difficult. It’s learning to come in on the right shot.
“I have really been very — not hard on her, that’s not the right word, but adamant that you come in on this and not this, and this is the shot you should come in on and not that one. She’s coming in on the right shots now, and she’s getting rewarded for it.”
Svitolina and Pliskova are scheduled on Centre Court, not before 9pm (2pm BST)
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