Singapore: Pliskova first into semis after ousting Petra

No.7 seed Karolina Pliskova clinched the first spot in the semifinals of the 2018 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global after dispatching her compatriot Petra Kvitova, the No.4 seed, 6-3, 6-4, in the final round-robin match for the two Czechs.

Former World No.1 Pliskova will contest the final four in Singapore for the second straight year, and reached another semifinal in style, picking up her first win in four meetings against her elder countrywoman after one hour and 22 minutes of high-octane play.

Pliskova had only six winners during the match but was by far the more consistent player on the day, breaking the vaunted Kvitova serve five times during the match behind incredible returning when facing second serves. Pliskova won nearly 70 percent of points when she saw a second delivery from Kvitova.

2011 WTA Finals champion came unglued with 32 unforced errors, and ends the 2018 round-robin with an 0-3 record. Kvitova has a stellar record against her fellow Czechs, having won 27 of her last 29 matches against her countrywomen, but has lost two of those matches this year the other being to Pliskova’s twin sister Kristyna in Charleston in April.

In a battle between two of the biggest servers in the game, it was Kvitova who was unable to get a handle on her delivery in the early going. Kvitova dropped her first service game after firing three double faults, two consecutively to end the game. Pliskova then broke her countrywoman again for 4-0, crushing a return winner to take that game at love.

Kvitova recovered slightly, claiming one break back after a five-deuce game for 4-1, and regrouped from a 0-40 deficit to hold for 4-2, as the powerful Pliskova groundstrokes hit a rough, error-strewn patch.

But Pliskova regained her rhythm as the set reached its conclusion, using incredible depth to force errors and hold for 5-2, getting back on track.

Two games later, a stunning forehand by Pliskova brought up a set point, which she converted to ease to the one-set lead after a long Kvitova return. / photo: Getty Images