WTA Finals Day 5 Preview: All To Play For In The White Group - UBITENNIS
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WTA Finals Day 5 Preview: All To Play For In The White Group

Elina Svitolina leads the white group, but all four players still have a chance of qualifying for the semifinals.

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Thursday at the WTA Finals in Singapore will feature the final round of matches for the White Group. It is still everything to play for with all four players in with a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals of the event. Up first will be an all-Czech encounter between Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova in what will be their fourth meeting on the tour. Kvitova has won their three previous meetings. Following on from that, defending champion Caroline Wozniacki will be hoping to end Elina Svitolina’s winning run. Svitolina is the only player in the group yet to lose a match this week.

White Group Standings heading into Thursday’s final round robin matches:
1) Elina Svitolina: 2-0 in matches, 4-1 in sets.
2) Karolina Pliskova: 1-1 in matches, 3-2 in sets.
3) Caroline Wozniacki: 1-1 in matches, 2-3 in sets.
4) Petra Kvitova: 0-2 in matches, 1-4 in sets.

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Advancement scenarios for Thursday’s matches:

  • A Svitolina loss combined with a Pliskova victory is the only way Svitolina would not advance.
  • Pliskova needs to win to advance, but would also advance if she loses in three sets and Svitolina wins.
  • Wozniacki needs to win in straight sets to advance, or would also advance is she wins in three and Kvitova wins as well.
  • Kvitova needs to win in straight sets, and even then Svitolina must win as well.

Petra Kvitova vs. Karolina Pliskova

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Kvitova has won all three times the top two Czech players have met before. But since Petra won her fifth title of the year at Eastbourne in June, she’s just 9-9, and is now on a four-match losing streak. During that same time span, Pliskova has gone 20-10. Kvitova also looked pretty exhausted by the end of her three-set battle against Caroline Wozniacki on Tuesday. The slower court speed in Singapore will also take some of the sting off Kvitova’s shots. This is a great opportunity for Karolina to get her first win over her fellow countrywoman. However, Pliskova will know a win would advance her to the semifinals, while Kvitova can play more freely knowing she may not advance even if she does win. I just don’t think Petra has enough left in the tank to defeat Karolina on this day.

Caroline Wozniacki vs. Elina Svitolina

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The last time these two played was one year ago in Singapore, when Wozniacki dropped just two games in an easy victory that lasted less than an hour. Surprisingly, Svitolina has won the other three matches they’ve played, all of which were on hard courts. Elina has been the better player this week, though I worry the pressure of being so close to qualifying for the semifinals will weigh heavy on her. Remember, this is a player who is 0-3 in Major quarterfinals, and is yet to breakthrough on a big stage. For her sake, hopefully she’ll find solace in knowing she may advance even if she loses on Thursday, and knowing Wozniacki will feel the pressure of being the defending champion. Caroline’s defensive skills and lack of unforced errors can spell trouble for opposing players who get tight. I don’t expect Thursday’s matches to be straightforward, but I do expect Svitolina and Pliskova to advance out of this group. Based on current form, Wozniacki and Kvitova will struggle to do enough on Thursday to surpass them in the standings.

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Andy Murray Makes Retirement Hint After 500th Hard Court Win In Dubai

Andy Murray won his 500th hard court match in Dubai, placing him fifth on the all-time list.

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Andy Murray further hinted at retirement after securing a 500th hard court win of his career in Dubai.

The former world number one picked up his second win of the year with a 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3 victory over Denis Shapovalov.

In typical Andy Murray fashion, the Brit came back from a set down to defeat the out-of-sorts Canadian as he progressed to the second round.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUVj537F-wQ

The win means Murray now has 500 career wins on a hard court and that is an achievement the world number 67 is proud of, “It’s not bad,” Murray told the ATP website as he sits fifth on the all-time list of hard court wins.

“Obviously hard court has been a great surface for me over the years and 500 is a lot of matches so I’m very proud of that. There are not many players that have done that, so great to get to 500 before I’m done.”

However those post-match comments weren’t the most shocking ones as Murray once again hinted at retirement this season.

The Brit has made subtle remarks that this year may be his last one but Murray’s comments today suggests that he may have already made his decision, “I probably don’t have too long left but I’ll do as best as I can these last few months,” Murray was quoted by ESPN as saying.

“I still love competing and still love the game but it gets harder and harder to compete the older you get, to keep your body fit and fresh.”

If the end is near for Murray than the Brit will look to end his career on a high for the next few months.

Before thinking about retirement Murray will look to go further in Dubai when he takes on either Ugo Humbert or Gael Monfils in the second round.

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Perspective And Fatigue: The Two Sides Of Iga Swiatek’s Dubai Defeat

Iga Swiatek spoke about perspective and fatigue after her semi-final exit in Dubai.

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Iga Swiatek showed two sides to her defeat in Dubai as the world number one surprisingly failed to win the title despite being the favourite in the semi-finals.

Heading into her semi-final in Dubai, Swiatek was heavy favourite to win her second consecutive WTA title after claiming the title in Doha the week before.

However Swiatek was unsuccessful in her bid to reach the final as she lost to Anna Kalinskaya 6-4 6-4.

It was a bitterly disappointing defeat for Swiatek who missed a golden opportunity to establish even more dominance ahead of Indian Wells.

As all champions do Swiatek offered perspective to her defeat as she looks ahead to the rest of the season, “I mean, I’m angry but on the other hand, there aren’t many players that actually survive these kinds of tournaments so I just kind of have to let it go and accept it,” Swiatek was quoted by Tennis Majors.

There was not only perspective offered but also fatigue as expectations and pressure can force simple mistakes from the best players in the world.

The world number one acknowledged Kalinskaya’s performance but did admit her own performance contributed to the defeat, “Today I would say, I mean she [Kalinskaya] played well and for sure she deserves to be in the final, but I feel like it was more about me and my level,” Swiatek told Tennis Majors.

“I wanted to be focused on myself and I wasn’t really able to implement any tactics that I had. Usually, when I tell myself what to do, I can improve my game but today I was so out of power and tired that I just couldn’t. Day by day, it was a little bit worse.”

Swiatek will hope to re-energize herself ahead of the sunshine double in America.

Last year Swiatek lost to eventual champion Elena Rybakina in the semi-finals at Indian Wells before withdrawing from Miami.

The Pole will look to improve last year’s performance when she plays Indian Wells, which starts on the 6th of March.

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‘Speechless’ Mensik Reaches Maiden ATP Final In Doha

Jakub Mensik is into his first ATP final in Doha.

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Jakub Mensik admitted he was left speechless after reaching his first ATP final in Doha.

The 18 year-old continued his remarkable week with a 6-4 1-6 6-3 semi-final victory over Gael Monfils.

The Czech Republican produced clinical tennis as he beat the 2018 champion to reach his maiden ATP final.

After the match Mensik admitted he was left ‘speechless’ and spoke about the influence Monfils had on his career, “It is amazing. Hopefully not the last one [final]. Incredible week so far,” Mensik told the ATP website.

“Today again with Gael, he played unbelievable. I know it is tough to play against him, especially with his good movement. For me every point I have to play my best game.

“I have to say this performance was one of the best in my entire life. I am so glad I reached this level in the semis, so hopefully tomorrow I play like this. An amazing feeling with my first ATP final. I am speechless.

“I told him when I was young I watched him a lot on the TV. One of the biggest showman on court. He is a great guy, so hopefully in the future we will meet once again. The rallies were so fun with him.”

Mensik has so far beaten three former champions this week as he also defeated Andy Murray and Andrey Rublev this week.

Now Mensik will aim to win his first ATP title as he takes on Karen Khachanov in Saturday’s final.

Should Mensik win the title he could climb to 75 in the world as he started the week at 116 in the world.

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