Elina Svitolina wrapped up her play in the White Group going undefeated after eliminating defending champion Caroline Wozniacki 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 on Thursday at the WTA Finals in Singapore.
Svitolina needed just one set to advance to the semifinals, but was able to come from a set and a break down in the second to win.
“I knew that I had to win one set. I mean, there was lots of pressure, and I think for her, as well,” Svitolina said. “We were both under pressure.
“Here this round robin is not easy, no easy matches, no easy scenarios. So I had to fight for every ball, and I think today I was really pushed mentally to go through really, really tough moments, because to play against Caroline, you always have to put one extra ball over the net. She always chase every ball.
“That’s why, for me, this was like one of the toughest probably battles mentally.”
Afterward, Wozniacki revealed was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis before the US Open.
“In the beginning, it was a shock, just you feel like you’re the fittest athlete out there, or that’s in my head, that’s what I’m known for, and all of a sudden you have this to work with,” the 28-year-old Wozniacki said.
“I think I didn’t want to talk about it obviously during the year because I don’t want to give anyone the edge or thinking that I’m not feeling well, but I have been feeling well,” Wozniacki added. “You learn how to just cope after matches. Some days you wake up and you can’t get out of bed and you just have to know that’s how it is, but other days you live and you’re fine. You don’t even feel like you have it.
“So it’s a lot. It’s something that now I’m happy that I’m done with the season and you can just kind of control it a little bit more and figure out a plan how to control it even better in the future.”
“Some people can go into remission and some people, it just stops, the disease, and it’s just right there and it’s not going to get worse, or if it does, it’s slowly. The medicine now is so amazing so I’m not worried about it. So that’s great. You just have to be aware.”
Karolina Pliskova booked her semifinal spot ousting countrywoman Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-4.
“I feel good,” Pliskova said. “I was pretty positive even after the match that I lost against Svitolina. I think my game is just completely fine. There is no reason to panic or there is no reason to just feel bad about something. I think my shots are pretty solid, so I can play anywhere.”
Friday is the final day of the round robin, and the last two semifinal spots will be determined among the four players in the Red Group.
The winner of the Sloane Stephens-Angelique Kerber match will advance. But at 1-1, if Kerber loses she is eliminated.
The 0-2 Noami Osaka will have to beat Kiki Bertens AND have Kerber win, to advance. Bertens gets in with a win.
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