The Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina hasn’t had the opportunity to take her turn at the rotating WTA No. 1 ranking over the last 18 months with the absence of Serena Williams from the tour, but that could be rectified during this claycourt season in short order.
Svitolina on Sunday rolled over current No. 1 Simona Halep 6-0, 6-4 in a power display to raise the Italian Open title for the second straight year.
“I think I dominated all the match,” Svitolina said afterwards. “I was trying to put lots of pressure on Simona with my game, tried to really take the ball early and to open the court. It worked really good today.”
She improved to 4-2 career against Halep in a repeat of last year’s final. It was Svitolina’s third title of the year and 12th of her career. She is 12-2 in career finals.
Halep fell to 1-2 in finals this year and 16-14 career.
“[Svitolina] was solid,” Halep said after getting bageled in the final. “She is solid every time I play against [her]. So it was a good match made by her, and she deserved to win, for sure.”
“I think I was a little bit tight and the muscles were a little bit stiff. I couldn’t run. Because I knew that I have to run in this match. I didn’t start well. Maybe I was rushing a little bit. She didn’t miss. I missed in the first set. But then the match was a little bit better, and it’s good that I could finish strong.”
In the second set Svitolina broke for a 2-1 lead and never gave up the break.
The 23 year old, in her eighth year as a pro, will try and carry her momentum into Roland Garros in a week’s time where she has yet to surpass the quarterfinals.
Halep, No. 1 on the WTA rankings but only No. 3 in 2018-only points behind Caroline Wozniacki and Petra Kvitova entering Rome, continues her tenuous hold on the top spot entering Roland Garros.
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