Venus Williams crashes out of WTA finals

2017 WTA Finals Player Profile Elina Svitolina

Simona Halep is still coming to terms with her rise to the top of the world rankings at the start of the month but is trying not to let the euphoria of the achievement distract her at the eight-woman WTA Finals which starts on Sunday. The awards are voted on by members of the media.

First she was denied in a dramatic French Open final, losing to Jelena Ostapenko having been a set and 3-0 up.

Pliskova held to love for a 5-2 lead before a big forehand victor brought up three match points and, while Williams played her best tennis of the tie to stave them off, a wayward backhand on the fourth gifted her opponent victory in just 74 minutes.

But the match was an anti-climax for Williams and an early blow to the 37-year-old's bid to be crowned the world's number one for the first time in 15 years. "The other one is more defending".

Pliskova and Williams will be in action again on Tuesday, with the Czech facing Muguruza and Williams taking on Ostapenko in the second round of Round Robin matches.

However, Pliskova's consistency showed as she hit 25 winners on her way to a speedy victory.

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In just her second tournament since the US Open, Williams struggled to dust off the cobwebs. "Not really, no", she said. For Halep, though, there was a sense that not only was the world No. 1 place a long time coming, but that it could be a real turning point in her career.

"What I learned from the past is that every game counts, every set, because at the end only two (players per group) are going to pass".

"I don't know how she felt but I think I was trying to take that advantage that I was here a year ago".

Her youthful exuberance and aggressive game helped her bag a second title in Seoul, making her one of the dark horses in Singapore, along with in-form Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, the last to book her Finals berth with back-to-back titles in China.

Though the scoreline may have been a tad harsh on Williams, the American was unable to take some opportunities presented to her, and that would prove crucial early in the second set; the 2008 champion missed multiple break points on Pliskova's serve at 1-1, and was then broken herself with the Czech easing to a 4-1 lead. "If I play well in those two matches, I can still continue the tournament".

Latvian Ostapenko, who trails their head-to-head tally 1-3, was "not very pleased", but said: "The first match is always one of the toughest". And, you know, I thought it's normal that she's playing incredible and I'd kind of wait for my moment, where until I serve and try to take control.

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