Svitolina strikes in first round of WTA Finals

REIGNING champions, Elina Svitolina has shown she is far from making at the numbers at the Shiseido WTA Finals, with a straight sets win over world number two, Karolina Pliskova. While the world number eight may have only just secured a pot at the Finals after dropping places down to number eight, she far outweighed her relatively lowly ranking to win 7-6 6-4 against the Czech title contender.

It took a 26-point tiebreaker, 14-12 in the first set for Svitolina to down Pliskova, before winning in an equally tight second set, 6-4. In the other Purple Group result, Simona Halep got the better of fourth seed, Bianca Andreescu, 3-6 7-6 6-3, coming close to defeat in the second set tiebreaker before eventually getting it done, 8-6.

In the Red Group, Ashleigh Barty continued her strong run as world number one, surviving a first set hiccup – going down 5-7 to seventh seed Belinda Bencic – before trouncing her in the remaining two sets, 6-1 6-2. Third seed, Naomi Osaka had a more challenging contest against Petra Kvitova, having to go the full distance in a 7-6 4-6 6-4 victory.

The two wins from the Red Group face off tonight, with Barty taking on Osaka, while Kvitova and Bencic are battling to remain in contention for the title, with two losses ruling them out of the running.

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