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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday November 10, 2021

 
Karolina Pliskova

Karolina Pliskova survived a tense third set, coming through in a tiebreak to defeat Garbine Muguruza at the WTA Finals.

Karolina Pliskova has always seemed to have Garbiñe Muguruza’s number and that trend continued on Wednesday night at the WTA Finals as the Czech claimed a hard-fought 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(4) victory to move to the top of the Group Group Teotihuacán standings in Guadalajara alongside Anett Kontaveit.

Tennis Express

Pliskova has now won nine of 11 encounters with Muguruza, and nine of ten since 2015.

"I think it was actually one point the difference because we reached the tiebreak and I saved many match points." Muguruza said after the match. "Man, that was a painful loss definitely."

GROUP Teotihuacán, After Day 1

Kontaveit 1-0, 2-0 sets
Pliskova, 1-0, 2-1 sets
Muguruza, 0-1, 1-2 sets
Krejcikova, 0-1, 0-2 sets



The 29-year-old Czech, the oldest woman competing at this year’s season-ending championships, was behind the eight ball early when she dropped the first set, 6-4, but she quickly responded with a near perfect set from the serving stripe, making 16 of 18 first serves in the middle set and dropping just two points on serve as she waltzed into a decider with the Spaniard.


After a trade of breaks in the third set the pair zeroed in on their best tennis and managed ten consecutive service holds to get to a tiebreak. For Muguruza the terrain was treacherous – she faced two match points while serving at 4-5 but bravely saved them both, thanks to pinpoint first serves down the T on both points.

Momentum seemed to shift at that point and Muguruza suddenly had a pair of break points to take a 6-5 lead but it was Pliskova who delivered in the clutch at this juncture, saving two break points to hold for 6-5.

In the tiebreaker, a roller coaster ride ensued. The server was only able to win three points, and Muguruza saved another match point, this time on return, to level at 6-all.

But Pliskova won the next point on serve, and finished the match on return, closing the victory at 2:26 when a Muguruza forehand sailed wide.

"I think it's huge because, of course, like you can relax a bit more," Pliskova told reporters on Wednesday night in Guadalajara, via Zoom. "It's not like you can lose the next match. Of course, nobody wants to lose any match. But it's like, okay, you have at least that one win, there's not such a pressure that you need to win every other match. If I just lose this match tonight, I think I'm gone because it was big, like having couple match points, breakpoints there, I was so close to making it even before the tiebreak. Then, of course, I was quite close to also losing it."

Notes and Numbers

Pliskova and Muguruza are the only two players in the eight player WTA Finals field to have previous experience in the competition.

Both players hit eight aces in the contest.

Pliskova has won the last three time she and Muguruza have played three sets. The Czech improves to 12-4 in deciders in 2021, while Muguruza drops to 7-8.







 

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