Zhuhai Final: (1) Venus Williams vs (2) Karolina Pliskova
The inaugural WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai will end with a bang on Sunday when the top 2 seeds and 2 of the biggest hitters on tour collide with a spot in the top 10 on the line. The winner of this match will end the year in the top 10, a massive added incentive for both ladies to win this final. This will be the first career meeting between Venus and Karolina, it promises to be hotly contested, quality final between two players who have played awesome tennis week and seem to be peaking just in time for the final after perfect semi-final performances.
Venus Williams seems to be peaking at the right time in Zhuhai. The American played inconsistent tennis during the group stage but managed to claim consecutive 3 set victories over Madison Keys and Saisai Zheng, coming from a set down on both occasions. Venus wasn’t at her best but used all of her experience to peak at the right time in each match.
The American’s best performance of the week came on Saturday where she thumped Roberta Vinci 6-2 6-2 to reach Sunday’s final. Venus was clearly on mission, maintaining a level and high intensity for the entire clash. Venus was particularly impressive at the net and served extremely well. It will be important for Venus to produce another high quality serving performance on Sunday against Pliskova, otherwise she will be in trouble.
Karolina Pliskova also saved her best performance of the week thus far for the semi-final stage, recording a comfortable 6-4 6-1 victory over Elina Svitolina. Pliskova was at her powerful best, the Czech was not broken all match and pounced upon the Ukrainian’s weak second serve. Karolina also went unbeaten through the group stage, defeating Jelena Jankovic in 3 sets and Sara Errani in straight sets
With so much on the line, this promises to be an extremely competitive final. I’m going to give the slight edge in this match-up to Karolina Pliskova. Both ladies obviously possess extreme power, both from the service line and the baseline. The biggest difference is probably Karolina’s superior serve, the Czech’s serve is far more reliable, especially her second serve. For this reason I think it will be easier for Karolina to break serve which is a massive advantage in this particular match-up which will be dominated by serve.
However, Experience is certainly on the American’s side and Pliskova will need to overcome a poor record in finals. The Czech is 1 win and 4 losses in finals this year. Despite that record, I don’t think nerves were a factor.