Pliskova off to a blistering start
Lanky Czech takes just 72 minutes to dispatch Venus
Karolina Pliskova sounded a warning to her rivals at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global last night.
In the first singles match of the elite eight-woman event, the 25-year-old Czech took just 72 minutes to beat American Venus Williams 6-2, 6-2 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, with a ruthlessly efficient display.
In the courtside interview, world No. 3 Pliskova said with a grin: "Maybe the score looks a little bit easier than it was."
But, having had an hour to digest her display, she later told the press she was delighted with the emphatic win over 37-year-old Williams, who won the WTA Finals in 2008.
"I felt pretty good. Actually, I felt really good," said Pliskova, who held the No.1 spot briefly this year.
"I think everything was fine with my game today... (and) there was no need to panic with anything."
I felt pretty good. Actually, I felt really good. I think everything was fine with my game today... I feel like I could not have had a better start than I had today.Karolina Pliskova
She added: "I feel like I could not have had a better start than I had today."
Indeed, the 1.86m-tall Pliskova hit the ground running.
She raced into a three-game lead in the first set, with Williams unable to find any answers to her opponent's winners.
Pliskova eventually wrapped up the first set in just 30 minutes.
The semi-finalist at this year's French Open then saw off a gritty display by Williams to seal the second set 6-2, after leading 4-1.
Williams was morose when she faced the press.
"Yeah, we started out with a couple of breaks," she said glumly. "I had some chances, but in the end, she played really well.
"I was playing better in the second set but she just seemed to have all the answers... Some days, that's how it is."
The older sister of Serena Williams also brushed aside suggestions that her unfamiliarity with the surface at the Indoor Stadium - her last appearance at the WTA Finals was in 2009, when it was hosted by Qatar - handicapped her, saying "every surface has its challenges".
But Pliskova, who struggled in her debut at last year's Finals, felt it made a telling difference.
"Yeah, I felt much better compared to last year," she said.
"Even in practices, I was struggling a little bit last year.
"I don't know how (Williams) felt, but I was trying to take that advantage that I was here last year.
"So, I felt pretty confident. Even though we had two tough matches against each other (previously) and it was one-all head-to-head, I felt like I had a good chance to win."
In yesterday's other white group singles tie, world No. 2 Garbine Muguruza beat Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-4.
Pliskova plays Muguruza tomorrow, knowing that a win could seal her place in the semi-finals.
And she wants to keep the momentum going.
"I'm going to play a totally different player on Tuesday, so I might use different tactics," she said.
"But I feel if I play like this again, I'm know I'm going to be close to winning."
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