Caroline Wozniacki keeps WTA Finals bid alive as Elina Svitolina takes big step toward last-four
Danish second seed overcame a second set wobble to register her first win in Singapore
Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki kept alive her WTA Finals hopes after withstanding a barrage of heavy hitting to defeat Petra Kvitova 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 in Singapore on Tuesday.
Both players came into the contest on the back of opening defeats in round robin play but the Danish world No 3 ended a run of four straight defeats to the Czech to stay alive in the eight-player tournament for at least one more match.
Wozniacki, who started her White Group campaign with a 6-2 6-4 loss to Karolina Pliskova on Sunday, spent most of the match against Kvitova pinned on the baseline but her consistency and patience proved vital as she pulled away in the final set.
“I played much better today. I served and returned pretty well, and moved really well against a player who is so powerful that you have to stay on your game,” Wozniacki said
“You never know what is going to happen against Petra, so I just stayed focused and got a lot of balls back.”
The match was a cagey affair from the outset with seven holds of serve in a row. But after they traded breaks as the intensity levels picked up, Wozniacki broke again to seal the opener when Kvitova blasted a forehand into the net.
Kvitova took control of the second set with an early break, then lost momentum when Wozniacki took a timeout for treatment on her knee, before she regained the upper hand to level the match with a sliced backhand winner on her third set point.
Sensing her title defence was in tatters, Wozniacki regrouped to break at the start of the decider when she put away a backhand to win the longest rally of the match, and ran away with the contest as Kvitova wilted in the final set.
“I just always believe in myself, that I am going to win when I go out on court. I was just out there, had the belief and fought to the end,” Wozniacki said.
In Tuesday's later match followed a similar pattern as Elina Svitolina became the first player to book her place in the semi-finals.
The Ukrainian sixth seed edged a tight first set, but was blown away in the second beofre clinching a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 win over Czech seventh seed Pliskova.
Svitolina had played almost perfect tennis until midway through the second set when a combination of good fortune and rasping cross-court winners earned Pliskova her first break of the tie, a feat she repeated two games later to level the match. Svitolina shrugged off the setback to come storming out of the blocks in the decider, racing to a 4-0 lead that she carried all the way to victory despite a late fightback from Pliskova.
“It was a tricky match, I tried to stay focus,” Svitolina said after the match. “It has been a tough season for me, but the way I’m playing now is really good.”
She only needs to take a set off Wozniacki on Thursday to reach the last four for the first time but as it stands, all four players can still mathematically reach the semi-finals.
Wednesday's action focuses on the Red Group as top seed Angelique Kerber takes on third seed Naomi Osaka in the first match.
That is followed by fifth seed Sloane Stephens against eighth seed Kiki Bertens.
Updated: October 23, 2018 09:42 PM