August 18, 2017

Svitolina wins Rogers Cup and climbs to No. 4 of WTA

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Elina Svitolina

Radio Liberty / Shutterstock

Elina Svitolina

Far from the peak physical form required for a finals match, Elina Svitolina battled through exhaustion and overwhelmed still another top-10 opponent for her fifth WTA Tour title of the season on August 13 in Toronto. Playing her third match in a little over 24 hours, the young Ukrainian toppled Caroline Wozniacki, 6-4, 6-0 to win the 2017 Rogers Cup.

“I’m just very happy that it’s finished,” Svitolina said in a post-match press conference. “And with a title, it’s even more special.”

Rain on Friday forced Svitolina to play her quarterfinal on Saturday morning. Exhausted from a late night and hurting from a right Achilles’ tendon injury, her expectations of winning were not too high. Indeed she never bothered to pack a second outfit for the evening’s semifinal and had already booked a flight to the next WTA Tour stop in Cincinnati.

Svitolina proceeded to dispose of fourth-ranked Garbine Muguruza 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the quarters, returned to her hotel to change and then went back to Aviva Center to eliminate second-ranked Simona Halep 6-1, 6-1.

Svitolina hand-washed an outfit for Sunday’s final, changed her Cincinnati flight and finished the tournament with an emphatic, one-sided victory over the sixth-ranked Wozniacki.

“I was very, very tired after the first game of the first set,” Svitolina admitted. “And I knew that I needed to give everything because Caroline doesn’t miss much. Emotionally I was relieved when I won the first set and then was playing better and better in the second.”

“And, yeah, it just happened. I really couldn’t believe that it’s all finished and I’m holding the trophy.”

The 22-year-old rising star banked on her fierce baseline game and retrieving expertise. Her consistent play keyed her win, her steady pressure often forcing Wozniacki into committing errors.

Wozniacki’s mid-match adjustments of the height and speed of her shots could not offset Svitolina’s strong ground strokes and powerful service game. Svitolina varied her pace, making it uncomfortable and difficult for her opponent.

Svitolina’s advantage in winners was 15-10, while both players had four aces and 21 unforced errors apiece.

Despite the one-sided victory, the two split the first eight games of the initial set before Svitolina notched a critical break at love. She never looked back after finally creating some separation and finished the first set before steamrolling her opponent in the second – the match lasting all of 77 minutes.

Svitolina knocked off four top-10 players in her tournament run, besting ninth-ranked Venus Williams 6-2, 6-1 in the third round. She earned $501,975 for her third Premier 5 title of the year and moved up a spot to a career-high No. 4 in the WTA rankings.

According to WTA Insider, she became the first player to win three Premier 5 titles in one season. She had captured championships in Dubai and Rome earlier in the year and added to her total with the Toronto triumph.

“I think this was a great tournament for me, I beat four really good players,” Svitolina said. “It was a very, very special week for me.”

Svitolina has reached five finals this year and won them all.

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