SINGAPORE – Both Caroline Wozniacki and Petra Kvitova put a brave face on opening losses – their coaches offered their view ahead of their round robin match.
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Caroline Wozniacki  v Petra Kvitova  | H2H: Kvitova leads 8-5
First up on Day Three of the WTA Finals in Singapore, defending champion Caroline Wozniacki will take on former champion Petra Kvitova. Both have had a solid year, with Wozniacki backing up her run to the title last year with her maiden Slam but there is a sense there may be still a lot for the Dane to prove.
After an hilarious coaching all-access session with her father Piotr (who when asked what it is like to act as coach and father – ‘So this is no easy, talking to your daughter or to your players. So, yeah, I recommend that to everybody, no good this way.’) – we established that Wozniacki took a while to adjust to the timing of the ball.
Wozniacki was understandably disappointed with her first match, where she lost to Karolina Pliskova in two fairly straightforward sets.
Wozniacki said, after the match: “I think I didn’t start off very well. I was trying to find my rhythm out there. She started off well. But at the same time, I had I think break points in almost every single of her service games and I didn’t get any one of them.
“That was kind of disappointing, and I think obviously if I had gotten some of them, the outcome could have been different. But it wasn’t to be today. I’ll just have to go back and practice tomorrow, get some shots in, and try to do better next time.”
She continued: “I think with someone like Petra, she can play maybe not as well in one match and extremely well in the next. I think you don’t really know what to expect. I just have to be out there and ready for everything.
“I think everyone who is here deserves to be here. As I said playing someone that plays very aggressively, you have to be on the ball yourself.
“I have a few things to work on, but there is still some positives to take with me. And the good thing is I suppose with this format is you’re not out. You still have a chance. So, I’m going to try to use my second life out here and try and get through.”
Last year, Wozniacki did some work with Sasha Bajin, now here and a successful coach in his own right with Naomi Osaka, but he is no stranger to the season-ending championships with his work alongside WTA stars such as Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka.
Piotr Wozniacki explained: “This time I deal with him [as a] hitting partner. Sascha working with Serena so many years. After this working with Vika Azarenka. So we speak on some hitting partner. This is very important that we see also to everybody coaches. Is very important one working your team.
“For Caroline’s team, this is important for me or for Caroline that we change hitting partner. Sascha is very nice person. I talking to him, You have huge experience with best players in world. So maybe good for you.
“We can see today Sascha is again [here] with Osaka, fantastic year for Osaka, for him, some coach. But in my team, important that you change hitting partner. If you play so many hours with one, so after this you understand ball coming here, coming [there]. So you level also coming down.
“So we make this just after Singapore that better for you that you go this way or be looking maybe for different one, maybe next year this guy working little with us, or after this we change again.”
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Kvitova came into press after her seven-match winning streak was snapped by Elina Svitolina fairly happy with her performance, echoed by her own coach Jiri Vanek:
“I think Svitolina play amazing match yesterday. She was not missing at all, no errors. And it’s tough. Petra had couple of chances in the first set. Even she was like 3-2 up on Elina’s serve.
“And I think that was the key for the first set, like if she would have broke her, then maybe the match would be different. But it’s maybe. We cannot play for maybe. And to the second set, also, she has so many chances. Like first three games always Love-30 on Elina’s serve, and she didn’t take the chances.
“That was the key. And probably I hope tomorrow is going to be different, different story, different match. She’s positive. That is most important for me.”
Much like her record against Svitolina, Kvitova’s winning run against Wozniacki coming into this encounter leans heavily in the Czech’s favour. She has won the last four matches and more importantly all but the last have been straight sets. That being said, she had an even more commanding run against Svitolina, but the Ukrainian came out all guns firing, with something to prove.
Kvitova said: “I’m already very proud of myself to be here and be part of it. I’m not depressed and just sitting and crying.
“On the other hand, there is still a chance to go. So that’s the good thing about the WTA Finals and about the group. Yeah, it’s not the end, so life is still going, so that’s why (smiling).”
Wozniacki might be able to defend Kvitova’s heavy hitting, and have the wheels to cut down the sharp angles the Czech is capable of creating, she seems to fall foul of Kvitova’s leftiness and the fact that Kvitova can inject a fair bit of variety into her shots. Her high-risk play that can cause the errors to rack up, as we saw against Svitolina, can also pay off against players who have defence as their go-to.
This is a difficult one to call and in terms of ranking and the fact Wozniacki returns as the defending champion makes her a favourite – her form in China is just a little more solid and Kvitova might see another winning streak snapped.
Prediction: Wozniacki in three sets.
Wozniacki & Kvitova are scheduled on Centre Court at 7:30pm (12:30pm BST).
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