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Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova advance into WTA Finals Singapore semi-finals

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 26 Oct 2018
  • Svitolina and Pliskova both progress to WTA Finals semi-finals
  • Svitolina went a perfect 3-0 in the round robin stage
  • Pliskova into second straight semi-final in Singapore
Elina Svitolina (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova have secured their spots in the WTA Finals Singapore semi-finals after advancing out of the White Group on Thursday.

(geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)

Arriving in Singapore on the back of a tough run of form during the second half of the season, Svitolina has reversed her fortunes in impressive fashion, winning all three of her round robin matches to progress into the WTA Finals knockout stages for the first time.

Svitolina has been very vocal about feeling as if she has a point to prove in Singapore after going 14-9 after the French Open, failing to win a title or beat a top 10 player as she fought off talk that her weight loss has been at the core of her problems. But the Ukrainian has returned to her brilliant best in Singapore this week and has had no issues with her power, conquering Petra Kvitova, Pliskova and Caroline Wozniacki to top the White Group in emphatic fashion.

Elina Svitolina (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Beginning her campaign by snapping a seven-match losing streak against Kvitova, Svitolina has gone on to register hard-fought three-set wins over Pliskova and Wozniacki, the latter of which on Thursday propelled her into the semi-finals. Courtesy of Pliskova’s win over Kvitova earlier on Thursday, Svitolina knew she just needed to win one set to deny Wozniacki a semi-final ticket and seal her own place, but the 24-year-old was on the verge of elimination after dropping the opening set and being pushed to 5-5 in the second. However, Svitolina showcased immense fight and dug out the final two games of the second before surging away in the decider to emerge triumphant by a 5-7 7-5 6-3 scoreline.

“I knew that I had to win one set. I mean, there was lots of pressure, and I think for her, as well,” Svitolina told reporters after the match. “We were both under pressure.
“Here this round robin is not easy, no easy matches, no easy scenarios. So I had to fight for every ball, and I think today I was really pushed mentally to go through really, really tough moments, because to play against Caroline, you always have to put one extra ball over the net. She always chase every ball.
“That's why, for me, this was like one of the toughest probably battles mentally.”

Svitolina also praised her own mental strength after receiving a lot of criticism for her form over the last few months.

“For me, going into this tournament was very important mentally to bounce back,” she added. “I had really, really tough second part of the season. You know, I was actually surprised, because I was very positive and I just keep fighting.
“So this really shows, and I think I'm getting mentally tough. That's what I have been working on really hard. And definitely [my coach] Andy [Bettles] helps me a lot, and it's something that really I appreciate it.”

Earlier on Thursday, Pliskova became the first player to secure a spot in the final four, earning a first career win over compatriot Kvitova in four attempts.

Karolina Pliskova (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Pliskova only fired six winners throughout the 6-3 6-4 win, but she played within herself as Kvitova sprayed errors left, right and centre and basically handed the match to her younger countrywoman with 32 unforced errors. It’s only the second time in the last 29 matches that Kvitova has lost to another player from the Czech Republic, with Karolina’s twin sister Kristyna also beating her in Charleston this year.

"It means a lot, and for sure, to get it to go to semifinals after beating [Kvitova], it's just special," Pliskova said. "I know I'm pretty good playing three-setters this year, so I just believed I can win this match by having the first set done. I felt pretty confident actually out there. Yeah, pretty happy about my performance."

Pliskova also made the WTA Finals Singapore semi-finals last year, defeating Garbine Muguruza and Venus Williams in the round robin stage before falling to eventual winner Wozniacki in the final four.

All four players in the Red Group can still qualify for the semi-finals as round robin action draws to a close on Friday, with Naomi Osaka facing Kiki Bertens and Angelique Kerber taking on Sloane Stephens.

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Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova advance into WTA Finals Singapore semi-finals

Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova have secured their spots in the WTA Finals Singapore semi-finals after advancing out of the White Group on Thursday.

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