Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: WTA Tour: Tour Championship | Selected Purple Group Matches

WTA Tour: Tour Championship | Selected Purple Group Matches

Tennis player holds racquet

Damien Kayat previews Karolina Pliskova vs Bianca Andreescu and Simona Halep vs Elina Svitolina at the WTA's Tour Championship.

2019 WTA Tour | Tour Championship
WTA Finals | Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre, Shenzhen, China
Selected Purple Group Matches | 30 October 2019

Karolina Pliskova (11/10)
vs Bianca Andreescu (13/20)

Canadian superstar Bianca Andreescu has been the breakout star of the tour this year, capturing her maiden Grand Slam crown at Flushing Meadows. Her confidence, bordering on the brash, has been a breath of fresh air. It really has been a whirlwind campaign for the youngster. It started ominously with a semi-final berth at the Auckland Open. But few would have anticipated her mid-season form. She reached the semi-finals in Mexico prior to her huge breakthrough at Indian Wells. It catapulted her into the broader tennis consciousness. But underwhelming performances at Roland Garros and Wimbledon were to follow. But a return to hardcourts saw the momentum swing back in her favour, and titles in Canada and Flushing Meadows solidified her place in this season-ending event. She will need to start well here after essentially throwing victory away again the pugnacious Halep.

Karolina Pliskova’s quest to end the year as the World Number One never got off to the greatest of starts against Elina Svitolina. The statuesque Czech lost a marathon first set tiebreak that ultimately decided that match. A straight sets defeat in this format can be poisonous and she will be looking for a fast start against the aggressive Canadian. Pliskova has been the antithesis of Svitolina this season, capturing a mammoth four titles this year. She also came close to capturing her maiden Grand Slam at the Aussie Open with a brilliant semi-final run. So all in all it has been a massively successful year for the brilliant hardcourt player. But there are still lingering concerns that the Czech suffers under extreme pressure.

This will be their second ever meeting, with Bianca Andreescu winning their only ever meeting at this year’s Rogers Cup. I am of the firm opinion that the Canadian is the favourite here. Pliskova may have exhausted herself with the sheer number of events she has played this year.  

Simona Halep (9/10)
vs Elina Svitolina (8/10) 

2014 WTA Finals runner-up has had a rollercoaster season. She captured her 2nd Grand Slam with a Wimbledon triumph that really came out of the blue. She was fairly subdued on her beloved clay, with a final in Madrid and quarterfinal at Roland Garros. But her post Wimbledon form has been fairly disastrous. A 2nd round at Flushing Meadows highlights this late season malaise. But Halep has the capacity to perform well on this surface. Earlier in the year she reached the final in Qatar and semi-final in Miami. Halep is a hard player to pin down. She can look close to unbeatable at times. But then she has the capacity to really capitulate. But she showed real girt in her opening group victory against Canadian sensation Bianca Andreescu. She came from a set down and actually saved a match-point. This Wednesday she will be coming up against a very familiar foe.

Elina Svitolina sits on the opposite end of the spectrum. She has qualified for this event despite not reaching a single final all year. But the extraordinary consistency displayed by the Ukrainian has been exemplary. She has an absolute slew of semi-finals to her name. Semi-final showings in Qatar, Dubai and Indian Wells reflect her undoubted prowess on hard surfaces. But it’s been her Grand Slam resurgence that has really captured the imagination. Svitolina was always seen as a soft touch in Slams. But a quarter-final in Melbourne was followed by back-to-back semi-finals at Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows. Svitolina just snuck into the season-ending event and will enter this match in fine fettle. She beat Karolina Pliskova in straight sets to get her title-defence well and truly underway.

As I alluded to earlier, these two are extremely well versed against each other. This will be their 9th career meeting, and they remarkably share the spoils at 4-4. Halep won both of their encounters this year. That included a straight sets victory at Wimbledon earlier this year.  This one is truly painstaking to pull apart. I feel inclined to opt for the Romanian. I think she will have gained a huge amount from coming from the brink against young gun Andreescu.  

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