Defending champion Elina Svitolina squeezed past Karolina Pliskova 7-6(12) 6-4 in the first singles match in the Purple Group on Day 2 of the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen, needing seven set points to win the first set before confidently recording a straight-set victory.
The second-seeded Pliskova opened the encounter with a break, climbing her way to a break point from 15-40 and converting it with a perfect dropshot. Svitolina didn’t wait long to level the match and from 2-2 we had a series of steamrolling service games which led to a thrilling tiebreak in which the Ukrainian eighth seed saved one set point, failed to capitalize on six of her own and on the seventh finally ended the 63-minute set victoriously as Pliskova hit a lunging backhand wide.
The second set again started with an exchange of breaks, but a crucial one in the seventh game gave Svitolina a 4-3 lead and the reigning champion took care of business this time.
This is Svitolina’s first Top 5 victory of the season. The 25-year-old is the only player in the eight-women field who has not won a title this year.