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Venus Williams beats Karolina Pliskova in 2 sets to win WTA Elite Open

ZHUHAI, China _ Top-seeded Venus Williams beat Karolina Pliskova 7-5, 7-6 (6) to win the WTA Elite Trophy on Sunday.

Pliskova had a set point at 6-5 in the tiebreaker but Williams hit back-to-back forehand winners to close out the win.

“Seven weeks here in Asia and now I feel like it’s my home,” Williams said. “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.”

With her third win of the year, Williams returns to the top 10 for the first time in more than four years.

The tournament brought together 11 of the top players who did not qualify for last week’s WTA Finals in Singapore.

Williams raced out to an early 4-1 lead in the first set but the third-seeded Pliskova fought back to 4-all before Williams took the first set.

Pliskova found her game in the second set and went up 4-2 but Williams got back on serve and forced the tiebreaker.

“Even if I didn’t make it today, it was a great week,” Pliskova said. “Venus played an unbelievable match today. But I’m proud of how I played this week and hopefully we’ll have more matches like this.”

Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam winner and former top-ranked player, has enjoyed a return to form this year, winning also at Auckland and Wuhan.

It’s the first time she’s won three WTA titles in a season since 2008 and the 41 matches she’s won are the most in a season since winning 50 in 2007.

The Associated Press

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