SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Caroline Wozniacki made an emphatic statement with a 6-2 6-0 thrashing of Elina Svitolina in their WTA Finals opener on Monday but the Danish former world number one insisted revenge was not her motivation against a player she had never beaten.
Wozniacki is making her fifth appearance at the year-ending eight-woman event and her experience of both the venue and the tournament enabled her to breeze past a Ukrainian opponent who appeared frozen by first night stage-fright on her debut.
“I think every match here is a special win because you play against the top players in the world, so obviously it makes it special to win,” Wozniacki told reporters after her 58-minute triumph.
“I am just happy to be through, and it doesn’t really matter if it’s Elina or someone else. I‘m just happy to have won,” she added of the victory against a woman who had beaten her in two finals this season and held a 3-0 lead in head-to-head matches.
Wozniacki stressed that the Singapore Indoor Stadium hard court had many nuances and to be successful, a player needed to be patient and know exactly when to put their foot on the accelerator.
“I think this court rewards being able to go from offense to defense, defense to offense, and I think it rewards the player that has good hands, in particular,” she added.
”You can’t just play offense or just play defense. Maybe you can win one match like that, but to play consistent on this court, you need to be able to run a lot of balls down and wait for your opportunity to really hit through the court.
“So I just tried to do that today.”
For Svitolina, it was a chastising experience against an inspired opponent, with the Ukrainian admitting she struggled on the surface and felt utterly powerless as Wozniacki reeled off 10 straight games to surge to victory.
“I prefer a faster court and this court is very, very slow. I completely lost my rhythm after a couple of games and was all over the place. I just felt very, very bad on court today,” said Svitolina, who won five tournaments in 2017.
”I was just not feeling anything today. Days like this happen and I was trying to fight, to try to find the way, but unfortunately nothing was working today, and it’s very, very sad that it happened in this tournament.
“I want to play good here. I want to be at my best but unfortunately today I was not. It was a terrible day for me.”
Editing by Pritha Sarkar