WTA Finals: Caroline Wozniacki beaten by Karolina Pliskova in opening match of title defence
Elina Svitolina beats Petra Kvitova in opening White Group encounter
Last Updated: 21/10/18 4:51pm
Caroline Wozniacki suffered defeat against Karolina Pliskova in the opening match of her WTA Finals defence in Shanghai.
The world No 3 was beaten 6-2 6-4 in one hour and 34 minutes by the Czech, who Wozniacki overcame in the semi-finals last year.
Pliskova saved two break points in her opening service game before she sealed the early initiative by winning five games on the bounce to win the first set.
The seventh seed in the eight-player field then broke at the start of the second set and held off a late rally from Wozniacki, who saw all of her 10 break points in the match saved, to make the ideal winning start in the White Group.
"They are always tough matches against Caroline," former world No 1 Pliskova said.
"I felt pretty good from the baseline today and I thought she was a bit nervous at the start as it's always tough to defend your title."
Elina Svitolina earned only her second win in nine meetings with Petra Kvitova, beating the two-time Grand Slam champion 6-3 6-3 to move to the top of the standings in the round-robin stage of the tournament.
"It's very nice to be back and I'm very happy with the match and very pleased with the performance," said Svitolina, who broke her Czech opponent four times.
"I had to really stay focused. She strikes the ball pretty hard so I had to react quickly and move my feet.
"You have to bring the best level you can bring because everyone is strong and from the beginning you have tough matches."
The Red Group will see US Open champion Naomi Osaka open her campaign against Sloane Stephens, while top seed Angelique Kerber will face Kiki Bertens.
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