Former world No 1 Venus Williams scraped past Karolina Pliskova to win the WTA Elite Trophy on Sunday, the American claiming her third title of the season as she secured a return to the top 10 for the Gutsy Venus Returns To Top 10 first time in four years.
The top seed was forced to dig deep into her vast reservoirs of experience to stave off Pliskova’s challenge and emerge a 7-5, 7-6(6) winner against the gutsy Czech.
“Seven weeks here in Asia and now I feel like it’s my home,” Williams told the WTA website (www. wtatennis.com).
“I’m so excited to win the first trophy in Zhuhai. All the players felt so welcome here and we appreciated all of the enthusiasm. To see every seat filled for every match, that’s all the players and tournament could hope for.”
The seven-time grand slam champion started well and raced to a 4-1 lead in the first set before Pliskova won the next three games to level scores but the American would not be denied.
For the first time since 2008, Williams won three titles – at Auckland, Wuhan and Zhuhai – in a season and the 700 points she earned on Sunday helped the 35-year-old jump four places to world number seven in the new WTA rankings.