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Garbiñe Muguruza became the first Spanish woman to win the WTA Finals with a straight-sets win over Karolina Pliskova on Sunday at the end of a two-week tournament held at the futuristic 02 Arena.
Third seed Muguruza, the 2016 French Open champion, prevailed 6-2, 6-2 to earn the runners-up spot in the elite eight-woman event in Singapore next week.
Playing in her first tournament since capturing the French Open, Muguruza laid down a marker when she beat Serena Williams in the first round at Madrid and then beat Sloane Stephens.
The 23-year-old secured victory in just an hour on Sunday and said she was in the best physical shape of her career.
“It’s been an amazing week, I loved every moment. I feel so proud of myself for coming here, battling through this difficult situation,” Muguruza said.
Garbiñe Muguruza’s right wrist was taped for much of the match after she was hurt in a tumble. Photograph: Matt Alexander/PA
“I am in a great situation mentally, physically and tactically.”
The World No2 Williams and Stephens, the American’s surprise loss costing her the No1 ranking she had held for the past 110 weeks, were eliminated from the event on Saturday and Venus Williams was also forced to quit on Saturday after losing the first set of her match with Maria Sharapova.
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The last Spaniard to win the WTA Finals was Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in 1999.
Muguruza got off to a slow start against Pliskova but broke the ninth seed to take the opening set after 36 minutes.
The second set was a tighter affair with Muguruza breaking Pliskova twice, once in the second set after leading 5-3 and the second in the eighth game when Pliskova double-faulted twice to gift her opponent a set point.
Pliskova dominated the third set and could not find a way back when Muguruza broke her again to claim the match in 84 minutes.
The 23-year-old Muguruza, who will now skip next week’s first-round tournament in Doha to prepare for the Singapore event, claimed her first title of the year and her 12th WTA Finals place.
Karolina Pliskova’s right wrist was strapped for much of the match after she was hurt in a tumble but she did manage to hold off several break points in the second set. Photograph: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images
She had to work hard to win the match, however, and nearly held on to her serve twice in the first game of the second set.
Despite trailing 6-2, Pliskova broke back in the seventh game of the second set and broke for a third time to bring the set level at 5-5.
Muguruza recovered from deuce to break and then serving for the match after Pliskova miscued a forehand to hand her the victory.
The Czech needed treatment for her wrist for the remainder of the match, but played on and dropped serve in the seventh game before Muguruza clinched victory.