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Pliskova strides past Venus in first match in Singapore

Karolina Pliskova made a statement to begin round robin play at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, defeating Venus Williams in just over an hour.


SINGAPORE - Karolina Pliskova kicked off play for the White Group at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global in emphatic fashion on Sunday, surrendering just four games to defeat Venus Williams, 6-2, 6-2.

With the victory, the No.3 seed stands at 1-0 in the round robin format, while the No.5 seed starts off at 0-1. The White Group also consists of Garbiñe Muguruza and Jelena Ostapenko, who were set to face off in Sunday's second match.

As it happened: Pliskova makes statement to start WTA Finals

Emphatic in all parts of the 72-minute encounter, Pliskova won nearly 70% of the points played on her own serve and broke the American five times - a far cry from the dramatic, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) victory the Czech recorded in the matchup last summer at the US Open.

Cracking a staggering 25 winners to double up against her unforced errors (12), Pliskova earned the victory on her fourth match point, denying Williams a chance to navigate out of a final service game in which she battled back from 0-40.

"I think my serve was pretty good today, but could be better. Some aces I hit, that's why I won," the Czech said on-court after the match. "I think the score looks a little bit easier than it was. I think it was very tough from the baseline. We were both playing very fast and pretty good shots.

"There are no easy matches here in Singapore, so you have to be ready from the first point. That's what I was trying to do, and it worked."

The Czech jumped out to an early lead, setting the tone with a break in Williams' first service game of the match. Though the American got the first set back on serve on her first opportunity, a love break in the sixth game quickly restored order on Pliskova's side of the net.

Making just four unforced errors over the first 32 minutes, Pliskova added a third break of the American's serve to wrap up a one-set lead, 6-2.

The American staved off losing serve for a third straight time in her opening game of the second set, saving a break point to draw level at 1-1.

The longest game of the match followed, as Pliskova saved a pair of chances which would've seen Williams take her first lead of the match, holding on after five deuces to stay in front.

The No.3 seed broke for the fourth time in the fourth game of the set, as a pair of love holds helped her move won game away from victory. Though Williams battled hard, saving a break point to stay in touch for 4-2 and three match points in the final game, Pliskova would not be denied and started her WTA Finals campaign with a win for the second straight year.

More to come...

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