Singapore | Pliskova advances into semis
Thursday saw the resolution of the White Group as the final round robin matches were played at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
Karolina Pliskova became the first woman to advance to the last four of the year-end WTA Finals when the big-hitting Czech put on a controlled display to defeat compatriot Petra Kvitova, 6-3 6-4.
I knew I had to win to be in the semi-finals and that was what I was thinking during the match. I cannot be more happy right now. It was a good match and she’s a great player Karolina Pliskova
The 26-year-old, seeded 7th for the title, became the first player to qualify for the semi-finals by ending her losing streak against Kvitova and knocking the two-time Wimbledon champion out of the competition.
Pliskova, who has reached the semi-finals of the event for a second consecutive year, was the more consistent of the two players on the court.
Kvitova’s hit-and-miss game produced a total of 32 unforced errors that played into the hands of the former US Open finalist, who she exerted her dominance early on, taming the threat posed by her erratic compatriot.
Pliskova went into the match with a 0-3 head-to-head deficit against her Fed Cup team mate, but on this occasion it was petty much one-way traffic in her direction as raced out to a 4-0 lead.
Continuing to engage in a series of baseline rallies, Kvitova managed to retrieve one of the breaks to herself onto the scoreboard, but the damage was already done in the first set, which Pliskova sealed with the help of another error from her rival.
“I think to stay positive because it is up and down in matches against her.” Pliskova said later. “She can play great points, but also she can miss a lot.
“That was the case today, so I just stayed there, even in the second set where she was getting a little bit better, playing more aggressive.”
By losing the first set, Kvitova was eliminated from the US$7 million event, regardless of how the match concluded, making it the third time she has failed to progress beyond the round robin stages in 6 appearances at the season-ending event.
The loss of the opening set appeared to free up Kvitova’s booming forehand and there were flashes of brilliance in the second, including a forehand winner to lead 3-0. A decisive break was made following a disastrous Kvitova service game that ended with a forehand sailing way out of the court.
Serving for her first ever win over Kvitova, Pliskova secured victory on her second match point opportunity with the help of yet another mistake from her rival.
“I knew I had to win to be in the semi-finals and that was what I was thinking during the match.” Pliskova said afterwards.
“I cannot be more happy right now. It was a good match and she’s a great player. She has always beaten me in the past but I knew I had a chance as I have been playing well,” Pliskova said in a post-match interview.
“I was feeling pretty [good] in my last matches when I played here, so everything was working well this week for me, so I’m happy that I’m back.”
“I’m not thinking about the next match yet, I’ll do what I can to recover first. Before the tournament, I said to myself that I want to enjoy it and I will continue to do just that.”