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WTA Finals: Svitolina tames Pliskova

Opening Purple Group, the eighth seed started her title defence impressively with a 7-6(12), 6-4 win in one hour and 53 minutes

Defending champion Elina Svitolina continued her dominance over World No. 2 Karolina Pliskova with a straight-set victory at the WTA Finals here on Monday.

Opening Purple Group, the eighth seed started her title defence impressively with a 7-6(12), 6-4 win in one hour and 53 minutes.

It was Svitolina’s fourth straight victory over a misfiring Pliskova who had 42 unforced errors.

It was a disappointing result for Pliskova who started well, mixing trademark hard-hitting blows from the baseline with softer touch — including an exquisite drop shot to capture a break in the first game.

But Svitolina slowly clawed her way back into the match and broke in the fourth game as Pliskova’s radar went awry.

It was a tense contest extending into a nerve-jangling tie-breaker with Pliskova’s bold approach saving six set-points, but she miscued on the seventh as the Ukrainian finally drew first blood.

A frustrated Pliskova was broken immediately to open the second set and never seriously threatened to stage a comeback against an increasingly confident Svitolina.

Pliskova, who has a Tour-leading four titles this season, is making her fourth straight appearance at the round-robin tournament and has reached the semifinals for the past two years.

Later, Simona Halep rallied to beat Bianca Andreescu 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-3.

The results:

Purple Group: Elina Svitolina bt Karolina Pliskova 7-6(12), 6-4; Simona Halep bt Bianca Andreescu 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-3.

Sunday: Red Group: Ashleigh Barty bt Belinda Bencic 5-7, 6-1, 6-2; Naomi Osaka bt Petra Kvitova 7-6(1), 4-6, 6-4.

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