Czech Karolina Pliskova stormed into the semi-finals Thursday after a convincing straight sets victory against compatriot Petra Kvitova, sending the former Wimbledon champion crashing out of the WTA Finals in Singapore.
Pliskova became the first player into the final four after a 6-3, 6-4 triumph in 83 minutes to end a miserable first WTA Finals appearance since 2015 for Kvitova.
The result puts pressure on reigning champion Caroline Wozniacki, who needs to defeat unbeaten Elina Svitolina in straight sets to keep her title defence alive.
Kvitova’s slump in Singapore continued, serving three double faults to be broken in the second game of the match and her confidence spiralled.
It was one-way traffic with Pliskova dominating off the baseline and picking off Kvitova’s timid shots to rattle off the opening four games.
On the brink of elimination, Kvitova showed some fight by attacking Pliskova’s powerful serve and breaking in the fifth game.
But Pliskova regrouped to close it out in 41 minutes and eliminate Kvitova, who had 15 unforced errors in the first set.
With the pressure off, Kvitova went for her forehands and it paid off as she began hitting the lines.
The 28-year-old broke in the second game and stormed to a 4-2 lead as it appeared a seventh straight match at the WTA Finals would go the distance.
But Pliskova rediscovered her rhythm to win four straight games and stop Kvitova for the first time after three straight losses.