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WTA Tennis Ladies Year End Championships • Wozniacki vs. Pliskova Singapore Recap

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in action against Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, during their singles round robin match of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals 2017 held at the Indoor Stadium in Singapore, 28 October 2017. EPA-EFE/WALLACE WOON



It was a day that extended late into the Singapore night of brilliant tennis on display at the WTA Finals, with two high-quality semifinals at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. In the day session it was a match of the highest quality between white group winner and third seed Karolina Pliskova and Caroline Wozniacki, a semifinalist here back in 2014 and a former number one. After a marathon opening set, it was Wozniacki’s fitness and supreme level that sent her into her eight final of 2017 at the WTA Finals in Singapore.


In the first semifinal it was a rematch of one of the defining rivalries of the 2017 season, a contrast in styles between the relentless defense of Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki and the big serving and power tennis from Karolina Pliskova.


“It’s been a great, I think, rivalry this year. You know, I think we both have had great seasons and have had a good year. I think, you know, we have had great, tough matches,” said Wozniacki on her rivalry with Pliskova.


“It’s never easy playing her. She’s a great player. She plays aggressive, great serves. You know, today was my day. We have kind of been alternating this year, which has been nice. It was my turn today.”


Early in the opening set it was a few routine games between the two, with no breaks of serve to 3-2 despite some break point opportunities. It was a lengthy deuce game that secured the first break of the match for Pliskova, going up 4-2 only for the Dane to break straight back. Two more breaks of serve followed, with Wozniacki playing a brilliant game as the Czech served for the set to break Pliskova at love and bring it to 5-4.


The 2014 Singapore semifinalist showed just why she looks to go even further this time around, fending off three set points to narrowly hold on for 5-all. After comfortable holds of serve from both, a marathon first set with nothing to separate the two headed to an opening set tiebreak.


Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in action against Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, during their singles round robin match of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals 2017 held at the Indoor Stadium in Singapore, 28 October 2017. EPA-EFE/WALLACE WOON

In the breaker Wozniacki raced out to a fast 4-1 lead, moving Pliskova around seemingly at will. Two more easy service points for the Dane secured her a commanding 6-1 lead, bringing up five set points. Amazingly, the level only continued to go up as Pliskova successfully saved all five set points, eventually bringing up another of her own.


After three more set points for the Czech, all of which a relentless Wozniacki saved, it was two more perfectly-played points from the Dane to bring up her sixth set point. Finally, after a total of 12 set points between the two, it was the fighting skills of Wozniacki that secured the marathon hour and 27 minute first set, taking it 7-6 in a set that lasted longer than both of the Dane’s first two round robin matches.


After splitting the first two games of the second set, the former two-time year end number one played two of her best games of the match, utilizing the slow and gritty Singapore court to her advantage to go up a break on Pliskova and 3-1. From there though Pliskova took her opportunity to play some of her best aggressive tennis of the match, taking two games on the trot and leveling up at 3-all.


That surge from Pliskova was short-lived though as Wozniacki once again upped her level, coming through a high-quality service game before a visibly worn out Czech struggled, gifting the break at love to Wozniacki and with it the chance to serve for a spot in the WTA Finals championship match. The Dane made no mistake with her opportunity, righting the wrongs from failing to serve out the match in her last round robin match against Garcia, closing out the Czech this time to book her place in the final in Singapore 7-6, 6-3 after a brilliant two hours of high-quality play from both.


Discussing their marathon first set, Wozniacki said, “Yeah, that was a pretty crazy first set. I thought we both played really, really well. I was down 4-2 but managed to break her back straightaway. Then we kind of went hand in hand, and she had set point before we got to the tiebreaker. Then I got a good start in the tiebreaker, 6-1, and I was feeling pretty good about it.”


“Then, you know, all of a sudden it’s 6-2, 6-3, 6-4, and I said this isn’t fun anymore. Let me just try and finish this off. At 6-All I was ready to just kill myself, basically. I was, like, this is not fun. I started thinking I should have lost this set already, so actually this is just a bonus. So I had a lot of talks with myself at that point,” commented the Dane.


“Yeah, just kept fighting. It went back and forth. Still, she had a few more set points, and I managed to win that first set. I think it was very important. You know, I think that broke her a little bit. I think it was important for both of us to get that first one.”


Finally, talking about tomorrow’s final against Venus Williams, a player whom Wozniacki is 0-7 against, the former world number one said, “ Well, Venus, I have had a tough matchup against her in the past, but I haven’t played her in a while. You know, she’s obviously a great champion and a great player.”


“You know, it would be really tough. She’s had a great year. She hasn’t played many tournaments, but the tournaments that she’s played she’s done really well in,” concluded Wozniacki.

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