Karolina Pliskova came out on top at the WTA finals in Mexico against Garbine Muguruza, but she was made to gift for the victory, eventually winning 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) in a match that lasted two hours and 26 minutes.
The Wimbledon runner-up says she can now relax a bit after the win, but knows she will have to ready for more tight matches – in this edition of the finals literally anyone can win.
Muguruza found her rhythm early to take control and see out the first set before Pliskova raced to a 2-0 lead, and hung in to take the second.
The deciding third set was a tight, with both players taking breaks of serve before a tie-break, was won by Pliskova 8-6.
“Honestly I think it’s huge because, of course, you can relax a bit more,” Pliskova said afterwards.
“If I just lose this match tonight, I think I’m gone because it was big, having couple match points, breakpoints there, I was so close to making it even before the tiebreak. Then, of course, I was quite close to also losing it.”
Despite the loss, Muguruza says she is confident she can get back to winning ways.
“That was a very tough match for both of us,” she said.
“I think it was actually one point the difference because we reached the tiebreak and I saved many match points. Man, that was a painful loss definitely.
“I fought as hard as I could. At the end it was just one point difference.
“I’m actually proud of the match I played due to the circumstances. I loved the crowd. Even though I suffered during this match, I also felt very energised and motivated to play in Mexico.”
Pliskova joins Anett Kontaveit at the top of the Teotihuacán group, after the Estonian beat Barbora Krejcikova.