Singapore, October 21: Elina Svitolina ended her long losing streak against Petra Kvitova with a masterful straight-sets victory in the opening match of the WTA Finals.
Svitolina suffered seven consecutive defeats at the hands of Kvitova after beating the Czech in their first encounter four years ago, but ended that sequence with a 6-3 6-3 victory in Singapore on Sunday (October 21).
Kvitova had not dropped a set against Svitolina since 2015, yet it was the sixth seed who got off to a flyer in the White Group.
The world number seven from Ukraine, thrashed 6-2 6-0 by Caroline Wozniacki in her WTA Finals debut last year, won four games in a row to take the first set and claimed the only break of the second to seal an impressive victory.
Kvitova's serve let her down and she made 29 unforced errors to Svitolina's 11, leaving her with work to do if she is to advance from a group that also includes defending champion Wozniacki and Karolina Pliskova.
Earns first win over the Czech since 2014! pic.twitter.com/AMILz9kMua— WTA (@WTA) October 21, 2018
Svitolina put Kvitova under pressure from the start, winning the first three points of the match and breaking in the opening game when the two-time Wimbledon champion netted a forehand following a rasping return.
There were signs of nerves from Svitolina as she failed to consolidate the break in the next game, but was undeterred as she took the initiative.
Kvitova saved a couple of break points before taking a 3-2 lead, but there was a clinch of the fist from her opponent after the fourth seed thudded another forehand into the net to go 4-3 down.
A struggling Kvitova was unable to find her rhythm and coughed up two double faults as she was broken for a third time to concede the opening set.
Svitolina had the bit between her teeth, saving three break points to lead 2-1 in the second set and continuing to work Kvitova from side to side with powerful, well directed groundstrokes.
Kvitova was a break down at 4-2 after putting a forehand wide and the 2011 champion was beaten when she looped a forehand into the tramlines at full stretch after Svitolina blasted a fierce serve down the tee.
Svitolina bt Kvitova 6-3 6-3
Svitolina - 7/11
Kvitova - 29/29
Svitolina - 3/1
Kvitova - 3/7
BREAK POINTS WON
Kvitova - 1/5
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Svitolina – 65
Kvitova - 55
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Kvitova - 56/42
Svitolina – 67
Kvitova - 54