In the White Group match deciding who would grab the last spot in the WTA Finals semifinals, defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Karolina Pliskova 7-5 6-3, joining Angelique Kerber, Dominika Cibulkova and Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final four.
Pliskova raced to a 4-2 lead in the first set, with spotless serve stats. When the Czech broke Radwanska to lead 3-2, her serve stats showed 8/8 (100%) points won on first serve and 2/2 (100%) points won on second serve. And even though Pliskova was close to a 5-2 lead, Radwanska showed why her H2H record against Pliskova is 6-0, producing a major comeback to take the first set 7-5. It’s interesting that at the end of the set Radwanska’s serve stats were slightly better than Pliskova’s.
The second-seeded Radwanska continued the momentum in the second set, immediately climbing to 2-0, as Pliskova was haunted by the missed chance in the first set and the six previous matches she had lost to Radwanska. Pliskova then played three high-quality games to lead 3-2, but followed it with a blackout in the sixth game in which she served two double faults, 3-3. The seventh game seemed to be announcing another close set, but Radwanska had the edge in that game and cruised through the rest of the set.
Radwanska is now the only non-first-time semifinalist at the 2016 WTA Finals. Kerber and Kuznetsova are veterans making their first breakthrough at the Tour Championships, while Cibulkova is playing her first WTA Finals. (photos: Jimmie48)