Brisbane | Svitolina cruises to title
Elina Svitolina won the Brisbane International title to give her chances at the first big one of the season in a week’s time, a great boost.
She has continued where she left off last year when she picked up five of her 10 career titles and rose to No3 in the world rankings.
It was a tough, tough off-season. To start with a trophy is always very, very special. Elina Svitolina
She slipped to six during the latter part of the year but following this confidence booster, should be a threat at the Australian Open which kicks off Monday week.
She swept aside the 23-year-old Belarussian qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 6-1 without facing a break point in just over the hour, firing six aces.
Svitolina, the first Ukranian to make the top ten, used her powerful groundstrokes to great effect t pocket the first set and then ran away with the second.
“It was a tough, tough off-season,” the world No.6 who ias also 23, said on court after the match. “To start with a trophy is always very, very special.”
World number 88 Sasnovich who had taken the scalps of the sixth seed Kristina Mladenovic in the opening round and ousted last year’s finalist Alize Corner the quarters, plus the seventh seeded Anastasija Sevastova for a place in the final, simply ran out of steam in what was her eighth match in Brisbane.
She apologised to the crowd for her lacklustre performance declaring: “Sorry for my play today. It was an incredible week for Elina – she was better than me and deserved to win. It was a good week for me.”
Meanwhile, in China, the world No.1 defeated the defending champion Katerina Siniakova 6- 2-6 6-0 to claim the Shenzen Open title after 74-minutes of play.
“It’s been a great week for me as I’ve been playing very well. It was a difficult match and (Siniakova) played very well. She beat (Maria) Sharapova (in the semis) which is great – I know that feeling. I think we had a great match today. I tried everything to win. I was a little bit less nervous and just tried to enjoy the moment even if we are playing indoors. It’s not easy but we did our job and I’m happy that I could win the first title of the year,” the Romanian said.
En route to the title, Halep defeated American Nicole Gibbs in the first round, China’ Duan Ying-Ying in the second, Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka in the quarterfinal and fourth-seeded compatriot Irina-Camelia Begu in yesterday’s semifinal. The Romanian only dropped two sets the entire tournament.