Group C, the third different group that will be playing on day one of the WTA Elite Trophy gives us intriguing matchups, just like Group B did. Group C contains Karolina Pliskova, Sara Errani, and Jelena Jankovic. Without further ado, let’s preview the group.
In Group B, no woman contained a deadly serve. That is not the case here whatsoever with Pliskova easily holding the best serve of the three women in the group. The Czech can fire them away at unbelievable speeds and can mix it up either down the tee or out wide. Her main problem is when she gets into rallies. She can often find herself going for too much or getting tight in the point, causing errors. The Czech has to learn how to harness her power and use it wisely if she wants to find herself on the right end of things in the group.
Errani is a clay-court specialist but can often throw in a few surprises here and there on the hard courts. Her serve is the complete opposite of Pliskova’s as it lacks pace but her spin and direction can often throw opponents a bit off when dealing with it. Her “in your face” and determined playstyle bothers her opponents, which is why she can reach the tail end of tournaments against the power-hitters of the tour.
Jankovic is a counterpuncher who possesses consistent groundstrokes. Her go-to shot is her backhand, but her backhand down the line is without a doubt her best shot that she goes to the most when she needs it. Like Errani, she spins in her serves. The Serbian can also get on the erratic end of things, and that can happen very quickly for her. Her mental game is seen as her biggest weakness which is likely the main reason she has not won a major despite being a former world number one.
Highlights For Each Player
Pliskova started off the year brightly with a finals showing in Sydney but lost to countrywoman Petra Kvitova in the final. She would go on to make a second final in Dubai, losing to top-seeded Simona Halep but rebounded a few weeks later with her lone title of the season in Prague. The Czech broke into the top 10 this year, getting as high as seven, but she was oft-scrutinized for her lack of results in big-time events; her best showing at a Grand Slam was a third round appearance at the Australian Open. She would go on to make two more finals, Birmingham and Stanford. Both times, she lost to Angelique Kerber.
As previously mentioned, Errani shines brightest when playing on the dirt. She won her lone title in Rio de Janeiro on the clay and made the quarterfinals of the French Open, getting dusted by Serena Williams, 1-6, 3-6. She continued her clay journey by making a second final of the year in Bucharest but was defeated by WTA Elite Trophy alternate Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. The Italian’s hot form continued on the hard courts of North America. She worked her way to the semifinals of the Rogers Cup, losing to Halep in the end, but defeated the likes of Kristina Mladenovic and Victoria Azarenka to get there.
It was another up-and-down year for Jankovic, but she continued to find bright spots despite her struggles. The Serb nearly took home the title in Indian Wells but was usurped by Halep in the end in what was a marathon final. Her next notable result was knocking off defending champion Kvitova at Wimbledon. The Czech was the second seed and many saw her as a co-favorite and Serena’s biggest threat to the title. She won her first title in Nanchang and won a second one in Guangzhou, with the latter being post-US Open. She would make it a third title on Asian soil this year after winning in Hong Kong just weeks after Guangzhou.
Group C does not really have one player that really makes you think that they can run away with it. Each woman has their flaws, but each one has problems on the mental side of things. With Jankovic’s hot form coming into Zhuhai, she is the one to beat in the group, but that could change in a heartbeat.
Group Winner: Jelena Jankovic