Elina Svitolina may be title-less in 2019 but the defending WTA Finals champion could not have asked for a perfect start to her title defence.
A 7-6 6-4 win against Karolina Pliskova gave the 8th seed her first top 5 win of the year.
For me this match up was always ‘must win’ for both players having difficult years at big moments of big tournaments.
Elina set out her typically gutsy stall, she went for it and chased everything down which is what I love about her game.
She said after the match the court being a little bit slower does help her but Pliskova should have used that to her advantage too.
Describing her performance I would say flat footed and pretty uninspiring in all honesty.
Karolina did play well at times but with the big points I felt like she ran out of ideas on how to play the match.
The first set tiebreak if anything killed off the Czech’s spirit as well losing it 14-12 with both seeing multiple set points.
There were points which Svitolina shouldn’t have been in but that killer instinct from the Czech number one just wasn’t there at all.
Going forward? Slightly worried for the Czech who has some big work to do now to get her finals up and running. The bad news for her is that she has Simona Halep and Bianca Andreescu coming up.