Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova begin WTA Finals with emphatic wins
Two-time Dubai champion made light work of Petra Kvitova while the Czech eighth seed was too strong for defending champion Caroline Wozniacki
Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki was forced to rue her inability to convert break points as Karolina Pliskova ran out a comfortable 6-2, 6-4 winner in their WTA Finals clash in Singapore on Sunday.
Top seed Wozniacki failed to take any of her 10 break point chances on Pliskova's serve, including two when the Czech seventh seed was serving for the match. Pliskova also had 10 break points, but managed to convert three - two in the first set, one in the second - to open her account in the season-ending tournament with an impressive victory.
It was Pliskova's third win in nine meetings against Wozniacki, with the Dane winning their most recent meeting in Singapore 12 months ago.
Elina Svitolina: Dubai title win motivated by desire to emulate Henin and Venus
"It is always tough against Caroline - the last time we played was here and I remember it was a close match last year, so I believed I had a chance and I tried my best today," Pliskova, 26, said in her on-court interview.
"I felt really good at the baseline today, not only my serve, I think the game was pretty solid from my side. She started a little bit nervous - it's always tough to defend the title - so I'm just happy with my performance."
Pliskova joins Elina Svitolina in winning her opening match in the white group after the Ukrainian sixth seed began her WTA Finals campaign with an impressive 6-3, 6-3 win over fourth seed Petra Kvitova.
However, Svitolina's fine display on court was followed by worrying scenes in the media room when she suddenly fell ill.
Svitolina tore up the form book by beating her Czech opponent for the first time in eight attempts dating back to 2014 but the 24-year-old soon halted questions about her win when she became light-headed in the media centre.
After leaving the stage and taking a few minutes to compose herself, Svitolina refused to elaborate on the exact nature of her illness, saying "I'm just not feeling good" when asked what the problem was.
Before she fell ill, Svitolina spoke of how important it was to finally beat a player who had a 7-1 head-to-head advantage over her before Sunday's clash.
"Definitely was very important for me. You know, winning this match, definitely gives me lots of confidence," she told reporters.
"I mean, this win definitely now I want to take, you know, as one to go forward, and for all those people and haters that were saying that I don't deserve to be here and I'm not good.
"So, yeah, I think this, until the next match I can really enjoy this win."
After she returned to the stage, Svitolina said she hoped to recover in time for what she expected to be another tough match.
"It's not going to get harder and harder. It's already very, very hard, each match. I already had the match today which was, you know, extremely hard for me, because I lost seven times against her," she added of Kvitova.
"So, I mean, you couldn't ask for a harder start, I think.
"So it's going to be good match next match. I will just try to recover and be ready for the next one and, be ready for anything and just fight."
Updated: October 21, 2018 06:02 PM