Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova made winning starts to the WTA Finals in Singapore on Sunday. In the opening match of the end-of-season event, sixth seed Svitolina claimed a routine 6-3 6-3 victory over Petra Kvitova.
The Ukrainian, who only just qualified for the tournament when results went her way at last week’s Kremlin Cup, had only won one of her eight previous meetings with Kvitova, but her victory never looked in danger this time around.
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Some people have questioned whether Svitolina deserves her place at the tournament given the way she qualified, but she was defiant after her victory over Kvitova and is now targeting a decent run in Singapore.
“I want to take this win as one to go forward, and for all those people and haters that were saying, you know, that I don’t deserve to be here and I’m, you know, not good,” Svitolina was quoted as saying on the WTA website.
The Czech star prevailed 6-2 6-4 without dropping a game on her serve and she was pleased with her performance against the player that beat her in the semi-finals of the tournament 12 months ago.
“It’s always tough matches against Caroline,” Pliskova said. “The last time we played was here, and I remember the first set was more than an hour, and I had set points.
“I believed I had a chance because we had a very good match here last year and I tried my best today.”
Monday will see the Red Group get underway with US Open champion Naomi Osaka set to face Sloane Stephens and top seed Angelique Kerber going up against Kiki Bertens.