SINGAPORE - Karolina Pliskova is set to make her tournament debut on Monday, when she faces Roland Garros champion Garbiñe Muguruza in her opening match at the at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. Pliskova will be pulling double duty in Singapore, having qualified in both singles, where she's been drawn into the White Group, and doubles with her partner Julia Goerges.
While playing both events in the past may have been physically taxing, Pliskova is less concerned this year. The doubles competition has moved from a round-robin event to a single elimination draw which begins on Thursday.
"I'm used to playing singles and doubles so I'm not really worried about this," the No.4 seed told reporters at All-Access Hour on Saturday. "I just take it match by match. I am starting singles on Monday, and this year it's a little bit different than last year, so there is a draw of the doubles, not a group. It can be different - can be potentially be only one match in doubles. It's starting on Thursday, so I have those few first days only singles. So I think it's definitely better.
"But I'm ready for anything. I'm ready to play two matches in a day."
"I was tired a little bit in Asia because when I came back from [the] States I didn't have much time to practice and rest and prepare for the tournaments as I did for the ones in States," she said. "Now I just took a few days off. I skipped those tournaments in Linz and Moscow, so I prepared for this last few weeks of tennis. There is Fed Cup for me after, and now I feel ready. I'm able to do anything to play [my] best tennis. I know it's [the] last two or three weeks of tennis in this season for me, so I will try to do my best."
Pliskova's late season surge on the US hardcourts set up her Singapore debut, having won the title at the Western & Southern Open and making her first major final at the US Open, beating both Venus and Serena Williams en route. Prior to New York the 24-year-old had never progressed past the third round of a Slam and it was her second-round loss to Misaki Doi that seemed to light a fire under her.
"At Wimbledon, I was really feeling well. I think I had a pretty good draw as well to make it even far and just didn't make it," Pliskova said when asked to recall her toughest loss of the season. "I didn't play good tennis there. Yeah, lost in second round with the opponent I beat the week before. I think [that] was the worst week for me.
"I don't feel any pressure [in Singapore]. I would say there is pressure during all the year on all the players, but this is the best tournament that you can play, so I don't feel pressure. There are other girls which are in front of me, so I would say I'm not the favorite for winning this one. I will just do my best [tp] win every match and do anything what I can to go out of the group.
"I have a very tough group: Aga, defending champion, so it's not going to be easy. I'm just going to enjoy. It's not happening every year that you're going to get here. [I'm] just going to enjoy the chance that I have to play here."
Looking ahead to her showdown with Muguruza, Pliskova has reasons to be confident. She leads the head-to-head 3-1 and has won their last three matches, all on hard courts (Muguruza's sole win came at the French Open in 2013).
"She's a player [whose game I like]. She has a similar game as me. It's possible to lose to her, and to win as well if you play good tennis. I'm really confident about the match and just on the positive from the last meeting what we had in Cincinnati. I was playing really good tennis there. For me it's still the same. I have to serve well and play fast so she doesn't have time to dictate the game. She has to be the one who's running and not me."