WTA Finals Singapore, Day 3 Preview: V.Williams vs. Ostapenko, Muguruza vs. Pliskova

The 2017 WTA Finals in Singapore will continue on Tuesday with the second set of matches from the white group. For a review of the matches from the first day (Pliskova vs. V.Williams and Muguruza vs. Ostapenko) including match recaps, analysis and WTA media highlights click HERE.  Let’s take a look at the matches for Day 3…

1. Venus Williams vs. Jelena Ostapenko (Tuesday, 7:30pm local time)

Reprising their quarter-final from Wimbledon earlier this year, the youngest and older players in the draw, Jelena Ostapenko and Venus Williams, will combine for a mouthwatering round robin clash on Tuesday. Both players will be seeking a first win in Singapore after straight set losses on Sunday. Williams struggled on serve in a 2-6 2-6 loss to Karolina Pliskova, while a late fightback from Ostapenko in the second set was not enough, eventually going down to Garbiñe Muguruza, 3-6 4-6.

Head-to-head record: In their only previous match, Williams beat Ostapenko, 6-3 7-5 at Wimbledon. Ostapenko had a better winners to unforced error differential on the day, but Williams was totally clutch on serve to come through in straights.

Interesting stat: In their opening matches, Williams and Ostapenko both won just one out of nine points behind their second serve. Both improved in the second set with Ostapenko winning over half of her second serve points in the second set.

Final thoughts: Both players face an uphill struggle to qualify having lost their openers in straights. Ostapenko spoke in press about not adapting to the speed and bounce of the court surface so i’d guess she will improve from her first match with more time to practice. Williams’s serve was the clincher in their only previous match but the American was competing on her favourite surface on grass. The serve is likely to be key in this one with a high first serve percentage imperative for both. It will be much harder for Williams to dominate on serve on this slow court so I would guess that Ostapenko is more likely to get into the rallies where I think she can do some damage.

2. Garbiñe Muguruza vs. Karolina Pliskova (Tuesday, 2nd match after 7:30pm local time)

In a rematch of one of the wackiest matches from last year’s edition of Singapore, Garbiñe Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova will look to inch one step closer to qualifying for the semi-finals of Singapore. Pliskova scored her first top five win since February with a routine, 6-2 6-2 win over Venus Williams, while Muguruza produced another stable display, staving off a late fightback from Jelena Ostapenko to win, 6-3 6-4.

Head-to-head record: Pliskova leads the head-to-head, 6-2 with six consecutive wins between Dubai 2015 and Indian Wells 2017. It was Muguruza though who won their most recent match in Cincy and convincingly, 6-3 6-2. The pair played in Singapore last year where Pliskova won 19 of the last 23 points and saved a match point to win a wild match, 6-2 6-7(4) 7-5.

Interesting stat: Of the four players on day 1, Pliskova delivered the most impressive performance on serve – the Czech player landed 63% of first serves in, winning 78% of first serves and 53% of second serve. Down break point, the serve helped Pliskova find her way out of trouble.

Final thoughts:  Pliskova’s serve and cool head has been key to success in their previous matches. While Muguruza won their most recent match in Cincy, and that is a big deal, Pliskova had played two matches on the previous day. I think that if Pliskova serves well then she puts herself in a good position to take this match. The Czech player was both decisive and consistent with her groundstrokes against Williams, and I think she will be able to live with a rock-solid, Muguruza.

Feature photo for this post by mootennis.com

8 thoughts on “WTA Finals Singapore, Day 3 Preview: V.Williams vs. Ostapenko, Muguruza vs. Pliskova

  1. Thank you.

    I’d like to propose a spot the difference competition, or rather hear the difference. Watch highlights of Muguruza v Pliskova, Singapore 2016 (above). Then watch Muguruza v Ostapenka from yesterday.

    Then rest your ears.

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  2. Well I think that the courts favour Muguruza more than Pliskova. She really choked in their match here last year. But if Pliskova returns as well as she did against Venus then the match is definitely hers, because that was some Sharapova/Serena level returning. One area which I think Garbine has really improved this year though is her second serve which has almost been a second first serve…so who knows?!

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    • Depend on Muguruza serve and head.
      Williams did not serve as effective as normal. Muguruza can’t afford that too.

      And of course her head. They had many tight matches which all had gone Pliskovas way.
      Could be a good match to see where Muguruzas mentality is right now.

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      • Venus has never had the best of second serves, really. That’s always been one of the key differences between her and Serena.

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      • Comparing anybody’s serve to Serena’s one is almost vacuous…
        In general I think that Venus 2nd serve is neither a strength nor a big issue.

        Talking about Muguruza she has to serve well. Some days even her 2nd serve produces aces or service winners.

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      • Yeah, like I said, Muguruza seems to go for two first serves a lot lately which really seems to pay off for her.
        I think a lot of girls could do with employing this tactic. It’s something Sharapova always did very well.

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    • Years ago, many of the girls had such a weak 2nd serve, their winning percent was zero or near zero on their 2nd serve. One had to wonder why they didn’t hit their 1st serve on the 2nd serve. Even if they DF 50% of the time, they would have had a better winning percent than zero. Apparently the psychological impact of hitting a DF meant more to them than their opponent hitting a winner off their soft 2nd serve every time.

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      • Even more bizarre is that some girls have had real success hitting two first serves and then abandon this play and see their games fall apart. Vesnina and Puig immediately spring to mind.

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