Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki’s quest for a maiden WTA Finals title started in highly impressive style on Monday, with the sixth seed dropping just two games as she demolished world number four Elina Svitolina in less than an hour.
Wozniacki, making her fifth appearance at the year-end showpiece, and first since 2014, was arguably the underdog against Svitolina, whose total of five titles on the WTA Tour this year is unmatched, though the Dane was in complete control throughout. Svitolina, who many have picked to win the event this year, failed to make any significant breakthrough on Wozniacki’s serve and played a nervy match on her event debut, with the sixth seed storming to a 6-2, 6-0 victory in a mere 58 minutes.
It was undoubtedly an accomplished performance by the fourth seed, who made just five errors to an impressive 16 winners, and who now has more wins over top ten opponents than anyone else this season, with 11 victories and just four losses against them. She will next face world number one Simona Halep, who also won her opening match today, whilst Svitolina will look to improve when she faces Carolina Garcia in what is a must-win match for both.
Wozniacki in control as Svitolina makes little impact on Singapore debut
There can be little doubt that Svitolina was the favorite for this match, having won all three previous meetings between the two, including straight set wins in Premier finals in Dubai and Toronto this season. However, perhaps burdened by the pressure of making her first ever appearance at the WTA Finals, the Ukrainian made little impact as Wozniacki stormed to victory.
The match started fairly evenly, with both women looking comfortable as they both held their opening two service games. However, it was here that Wozniacki, serving first, took complete control of the encounter, breaking to secure a 4-2 lead and comfortably consolidating to put herself a game away from the first set. Svitolina, despite having comfortably beaten her opponent in two matches this year, was already struggling this point, and it took only one break point for the Dane to break for the second time and seal the opening set.
After a disappointing first set, there was a slight flicker of hope for the Ukrainian early in the second set as she forced a break point on Wozniacki’s serve, though the fourth seed failed to take advantage and never came close to having another opportunity to potentially hurt the Dane. Svitolina won just nine points in the second set, with Wozniacki in control of virtually every rally as she converted all three break point opportunities she created, with the final break sealing a surprisingly simple first win of the tournament for her.