WTA Finals: Karolina Pliskova beats Venus Williams in Singapore

WTA Finals: Karolina Pliskova beats Venus Williams in Singapore

The freshly crowned WTA player of the year was far too solid for an erratic Ostapenko, winning 6-3, 6-4 in 85 minutes to open her campaign in Singapore.

Pliskova held to love for a 5-2 lead before a big forehand victor brought up three match points and, while Williams played her best tennis of the tie to stave them off, a wayward backhand on the fourth gifted her opponent victory in just 74 minutes.

"We have the top eight players in the world, and everyone is playing insane tennis". That's what I was trying to do today and it worked'. Serving to stay in the encounter, the American showed some fight as she saved three consecutive match points, though could not save a fifth as Pliskova broke once again to seal a strong win.

"It is important, I'm not going to lie, but I know I have to play well", Muguruza told reporters, when asked about returning to the top of the rankings.

"I wanted to win so badly and she was just not giving me anything", Muguruza added after sealing victory on her third match point. And, you know, I thought it's normal that she's playing incredible and I'd kind of wait for my moment, where until I serve and try to take control. So I'm waiting to finish here to go to the holiday and then I will have a big party. "If I play well, I can still continue the tournament".

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Williams, the only player in the field to have lifted the Billie Jean King Trophy - in Doha in 2008 - said the WTA Tour's strength in depth had made for an outstanding season.

"I think my group is more aggressive-style players", Pliskova said.

Halep continued: "I said at the beginning of the year when I heard that Serena was pregnant that now every tournament is open, and we saw that we had [three] different Grand Slam champions and many No. 1s in the world".

Halep is planning a major celebration of her ascent to the top of the rankings at the end of the season but the Romanian remains aware that six of the other seven women at the WTA Finals could usurp her as world number one. Then grasscourt opportunities at Eastbourne and Wimbledon fell short as well, and defeat to Muguruza in the final of the Cincinnati Masters left her an agonizing five points short of then No. 1 Karolina Pliskova.

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