Singapore (AFP) - World number three Karolina Pliskova launched her bid for a season-ending triumph at the WTA Finals in Singapore with a convincing 6-2, 6-2 victory over a sluggish Venus Williams on Sunday.
Opening the tournament, which fields the top eight players, the dynamic Czech player overwhelmed Williams from the get-go in a one-sided match that lasted just one hour and 12 minutes.
Pliskova, playing her first match under the guidance of new coach Rennae Stubbs, showcased her heavy artillery in a much-needed confidence boost for the 25-year-old, who slipped in the rankings after being crowned world number one in July.
It was an anti-climax for Williams in her first WTA Finals since 2009 and an early blow to the 37-year-old's bid to be crowned the world's number one for the first time in 15 years.
Even though both players are notable servers, there were four breaks of serve in the first set and Pliskova captured three of them.
Pliskova started the match in trademark fashion with an ace and showed her proficiency in returning by breaking Williams in the second game to gain an early stranglehold.
In just her second tournament since the US Open, Williams struggled to dust off the cobwebs. Her error-strewn first set was marred by nine unforced errors and three double faults.
Williams appeared to be finding her groove early in the second set when she had two chances to break. But Pliskova was up to the task with a volley winner and an ace to stymie the American.
Pliskova held serve and then immediately broke Williams in the fourth game to take command of the contest.