SINGAPORE - Semifinal spots are on the line as the White Group takes center stage on Wednesday at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. We preview the action.
Wednesday, White Group, Round Robin
Key Stat: Pliskova, the WTA aces leader, hit 14 aces in her opening win over Muguruza. She is the first player to record consecutive seasons with 500+ aces.
Svetlana Kuznetsova's magical run continued in full force on Monday in Singapore as she saved a match point to defeat Agnieszka Radwanska in a two-hour and 48-minute cliffhanger. Kuznetsova heads into her second career meeting with Karolina Pliskova with brimming confidence after taking the Kremlin Cup title to complete an eleventh-hour qualification for Singapore. Now that she's here, the Russian is playing with house money and loving every minute of it.
"Sometimes it's not easy, and sometimes you're pulling through," Kuznetsova said on Monday after defeating Radwanska for the 13th time in 17 career matches. "I put aside that I'm tired, put aside the emotions, the jet lag - I didn't want to think about it. We came here to fight, let's put everything else to one side."
There was plenty of fight coming from Pliskova on Monday as well. The Czech also fought off a match point as she battled past Garbiñe Muguruza to earn her first WTA Finals victory in dramatic
fashion. Pliskova's big-match composure has been a recurring theme in the second half of the season, and she has made a habit out of delivering her best tennis in the clutch. But she'll have to be on song once again on Wednesday if she is to get past the scorching-hot Kuznetsova. There's much on the line in this the second ?career meeting between these two - the winner has a good chance of securing safe passage into the semifinals.
Pick: Kuznetsova in three
Key Stat: On six occasions, a player has lost a match in the round-robin stage and gone on to win the WTA Finals title.
Two players eager for a shot of redemption and facing possible elimination will meet for the eighth time on Wednesday when Agnieszka Radwanska and Garbiñe Muguruza lock horns in the nightcap at Singapore Indoor Stadium. Both squandered match points in heartbreaking fashion on Monday, as Muguruza blew a double-break lead in the third set against her long-time nemesis Karolina Pliskova while Radwanska failed to convert a match point late in the third set against Svetlana Kuznetsova. The pair have not met since last year's WTA Finals, when defending champion
Radwanska snapped a four-match losing streak against the Spaniard en route to the biggest title of her career. The Pole will seek to replicate the magic against a player that can be as formidable as they come when she is on her game. Will Radwanska be able to keep the powerful Muguruza at bay again in Singapore, or will the Spaniard rebound from a disappointing opening loss to earn a much-needed victory?
Pick: Muguruza in three
White Group Semifinal Qualification Scenarios...
1. If Kuznetsova and Radwanska win, Kuznetsova qualifies for semifinals, Muguruza is eliminated.
2. If Pliskova and Muguruza win, Pliskova qualifies for semifinals, Radwanska is eliminated.
3. Any other combination of results will mean White Group semifinal qualification comes down to Friday's matches.
By the Numbers...
14 - Pliskova hammered 14 aces in 16 service games in her win over Muguruza on Monday.
8 - Radwanska is bidding to become the eighth player to successfully defend a WTA Finals title.
3 - No. of Czech players that have claimed a WTA Finals title (Navratilova, Novotna, Kvitova).
0 - Muguruza is bidding to become the first Spaniard to win the title at the WTA Finals.