With all four members of the White Group at the WTA Finals in Singapore among the tour’s Top 20 leaders in aces, a few tiebreakers among the scores wouldn’t have been unexpected.
Instead, it was the return that determined the outcome of the opening matches.
In the first match of the day, Karolina Pliskova, the No. 3 seed, defeated fifth-seeded Venus Williams 6-2, 6-2. The Czech came out ready to play from the start, taking a quick 3-0 lead. Williams, making an appearance at the year-end championship for the first time since 2009, got a break back in the fifth game, but Pliskova broke twice more to take the opener.
Williams had an opportunity to get a foothold in the match in the second set, but Pliskova fought off break points in the third game. Buoyed by that hold, the former world No. 1 broke Williams in the fourth game and one more time to seal the match.
In the second match of the day, it was a battle between two of the year’s Grand Slam winners as Garbine Muguruza and Jelena Ostapenko staged a break-fest of their own. Wimbledon champion and No. 2 seed Muguruza broke five times, while French Open winner Ostapenko, seeded seventh and making her debut at the event, capitalized on three out of eight opportunities. It was Muguruza who prevailed at the end, winning by a 6-3, 6-4 score line.