Print Edition - 2017-10-23 | Sports
Pliskova eases past Williams
- wta finals
Oct 23, 2017-
Karolina Pliskova put on a ruthless display of big hitting to swat aside crowd favourite Venus Williams 6-2, 6-2 in the opening match of the WTA Finals at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Sunday.
The 37-year-old Williams is making her first appearance since 2009 at the elite eight-woman event but her Czech opponent hit the ground running and never looked back after she broke the American’s serve early in the first set of group match. The strategy was pretty much established in the opening game, with Williams, the 2008 champion, looking to come to the net whenever
possible, while Pliskova
was happy to rely on her powerful groundstrokes from the baseline.
Pliskova found her range immediately for a routine hold in the first game but Williams struggled when it was her turn to serve as the Czech capitalised on some sloppy play from the American to break with a booming forehand. A flustered Williams settled in the fourth game to finally get on the scoreboard with a second ace of the match and, after the pair exchanged breaks, Pliskova moved 5-2 ahead with a sumptuous volley after working the American around the court.
Another double fault gave the world No 3 her first set point and she duly wrapped up the opener in 32 minutes when Williams went long with an errant backhand.
The second set began with both players holding comfortably before Pliskova edged ahead in a pivotal third game when she fended off two break points with a brilliant volley and an ace before sending down two more huge serves to stay in control. Williams was now struggling for both range and control and Pliskova, buoyed up by the tough hold in the previous game, pounced on another poor sequence of points from her opponent to break again and surge clear.
Pliskova held to love for a 5-2 lead before a big forehand winner brought up three match points and, while Williams played her best tennis of the match to stave them off, a wayward backhand on the fourth gifted her opponent victory in just 74 minutes.
The Red Group includes Simona Halep of Romania, Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, Dane Caroline Wozniacki and Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, with the first matches in taking place on Monday.
Published: 23-10-2017 08:57