Last year was a tight finish on the WTA rankings. Six players vyed for the top spot entering the year-end championships. Current world No. 6 Elina Svitolina was one of those players, and this weekend she showed it will be difficult to keep her from ascending to the No. 1 spot for the first time.
Svitolina recorded a 6-2, 6-1 beating of qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich to win the Brisbane International title on Saturday.
It was the continuation of a stunning run in championship matches for Svitolina. The Ukrainian went 5-0 in finals last year, three of them Premier-level, the first player to win three Premier titles in the same season. Year-end No. 1 Simona Halep by comparison was 1-4 in finals.
“It was a tough, tough off-season,” Svitolina said after the match. “To start with a trophy is always very, very special.”
Svitolina failed to keep the match under an hour at 61 minutes but never faced a break point and lost only four points off first serves with 10 aces.
“To be a good, consistent player you have to work on everything and to be really confident with all the parts of your game,” she said. “Of course, the serve is one of them because you can get free points off that.”
Sasnovich did not appear energetic in her eighth match of the week as a qualifier, winning four three-setters.
“Sorry for my play today,” she told the crowd afterwards. “It was an incredible week for Elina — she was better than me and deserved to win. It was a good week for me. I tried not to think about [fatigue] too much, you know. I just tried to relax a little. Of course, everyone understand that it’s a lot of matches. I understand it’s a lot of matches.”
Svitolina says she looks forward to making a bigger impact at the Grand Slams, especially a week from now in Melbourne.
“If I’m there with my game, I have a good chance to play well [at the Australian Open],” she said. “I don’t have any pressure that I have to play well there. I am on the right path and we can see that the things we’ve been working on are the right things.”
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