SHENZHEN – Czech No 2 seed Karolina Pliskova notched her maiden purple group victory after 4th seeded Bianca Andreescu retired a set down (6-3) with an injured left knee.
The two players came into the match with the 19-year-old Andreescu having won their only previous encounter in Toronto earlier this month, and it was the Canadian who pulled ahead initially in this meeting as well.
Pliskova was broken at love on her first service by Andreescu who was finding her returning shots with ease. The two players then each held a service game before Andreescu had to stretch to attempt a return at a wide passing shot from Pliskova.
In visible pain, Andreescu called a medical time out and had heavy strapping applied to her knee. Andreescu was later overheard telling her coach Sylvain Bruneau that she “heard a crack” and was unable to get any movement out of her knee.
The US Open champion went on to drop five out of the next six games after her medical time out. Although Pliskova would cough up several unforced errors and stumbled through four double faults, Andreescu was hampered enough in her ability to find shots that the Czech managed to break twice more on the way to sealing the set in 46 minutes.
In terms of what this means for the draw, there is still one round-robin match left for Friday in the purple group. Although Andreescu is not barred from continuing due to the retirement, the result still counts as a win for Pliskova, so the Canadian will not be able to advance beyond the group stage.
Since both Pliskova and Simona Halep will be at one win and one loss a piece going into their clash, they will in effect be playing for the second spot in the semis behind Elina Svitolina, who clinched her weekend appearance with a straight-sets win over Halep earlier this evening.
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