CM – Karolina Pliskova, Anett Kontaveit open with victories at the WTA finals at the end of the year

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In a competition between two former No. 1 players, third-placed Pliskova struggled to adjust to the nearly 5,000-foot altitude of Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city.

Published: November 11, 2021 14:00 |

Last updated: November 11, 2021 2:00 p.m.

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Karolina Pliskova from Czech Republic returns a shot to Garbine Muguruza from Spain during a game of the Mexican Tennis WTA Finals in Guadalajara, Mexico. (Photo | AP)

GUADALAJARA (MEXICO): Karolina Pliskova got off to a slow start before defeating Garbiñe Muguruza in her opening game at the WTA final with 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6). < In a competition between two former No. 1 players, third-placed Pliskova struggled to adjust to the nearly 5,000 feet altitude of Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city.

« The first set wasn’t the best From me. The serve in the second set was great, lots of free points on the first serve. Then it was a combative third set. I thought I just had too many chances, I didn’t make it.  » really, but I’m glad it went my way in the end, « said Pliskova.

Pliskova is playing the WTA Finals for the fifth time after reaching the semifinals in 2018 and ’19. The 2020 tournament has been canceled. She won no titles in 2021, but maintained a high rank by reaching the finals in Wimbledon and Montreal and the semifinals in Cincinnati.

Pliskova now has a 9-2 record against the former Wimbledon and French Open Winner Muguruza, who won the titles in Chicago and Dubai this year and made her fourth appearance at the end of the season.

« That was a very tough game for both of us. There was one point difference – I saved a lot of match points and it’s a heavy loss. I fought as hard as possible. I’m happy with my fighting spirit, even though I lost. «  » Said Muguruza.

Muguruza dropped his serve before winning four games in a row to take a 4-2 lead and finally the first set to win in 38 minutes. Pliskova calmed down in the second game and was given service breaks in the second and eighth games to level the game.

The third set lasted more than an hour, with Muguruza saving three match points to a tie-break and another in the tie-break before Pliskova sealed the win. Previously, Anett Kontaveit had extended her hot streak to 11 straight wins with a 6-3, 6-4 win over runner-up Barbora Krejcikova.

Kontaveit has won 27 of her last 29 games, including her title run in Ostrava where she defeated Paula Badosa and Maria Sakkari, who both compete here.

« I’ve been in some kind of top 30 for many years a streak of bad luck, then I started with Dmitry (Tursunov) and really hoped for a couple of wins. I did it. « Cleveland to win, then it started from there, » said Kontaveit.

Tursunov, a former number 20 in the world, started working with Kontaveit at the Cincinnati Masters, where the 25-year-old Estonian lost in the first round. Since then, Kontaveit has risen from 30th place to the top 10.

After the top-ranked Ash Barty from Australia refused to defend the title due to travel restrictions in her country, Kontaveit pushed Ons Jabeur for last place in the championship at the end of the season by she defeated Simona Halep in the final of the Transylvania Open.

« I believed in myself a little more and the game definitely clicked because I simply won more wins, played a lot of tennis and felt really good », said Kontaveit.

Krejcikova, the French Open champion, started the year in 65th place but won three titles to qualify for the WTA final. « It’s just difficult because I actually played in Europe a few days ago, now I’m here. It’s really, really, very difficult, » said Krejcikova.

The tournament that was closed last year because of the COVID 19 pandemic was canceled, will be played in round robin format. The WTA Finals will only be held in Guadalajara this year, with the event expected to return to Shenzhen, China, in 2022.

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