WTA Finals: Svitolina revives, upends Pliskova

Elina Svitolina
Back in the spring, Elina Svitolina was ready to pounce. She hadn’t won a Grand Slam, but in the big tournaments, she was very strong, fast and powerful.

From January through May, she won Brisbane, Dubai and Rome against very good players. She upset the No. 1 Simona Halep in the final in Italy — on clay. She was legitimately one of the favorites going in Roland Garros. But she lost in the third round. She wept and she was very upset.

The same thing happened during the summer. She lost in the first round at Wimbledon, but back in the hard courts, she began to feel a little bit better, and she reached the semis at Montreal and the quarters in Cincinnati. Not great, great, but decent. 

But after she walked into the US Open, in the first week, she looked pretty good. But, then in the third set against Anastasija Sevastova, she totally disappeared, and she went down 6-0 in the third. Wow. Credit to Sevastova, but Svitolina  totally crashed out. It is all about the Slams, and she has yet to go super deep in the majors.

But not now. In the past four days, she is into it again, beating Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. In the third set, she looked healthy and concentrated. Two days ago,  she smoked Petra Kvitova, serving and running substantially faster. 

“I think my serve was not great today at all, but it’s also, on the other hand, she’s returning pretty well, so she’s putting a lot of balls back,” Pliskova said. “So, there is the pressure that you always have to play the ball after the serve. … Obviously, the third set I didn’t hold much my serve, which is always frustrating, but she’s a good player, too, so I was not there alone.”

And now, in Singapore, Svitolina had a decent chance to win it all. She is pretty honest. Here is what she said after the match about the Czech:  “It worked really good, because I think Karolina was up and down and struggling sometimes.”

Yes, she did, and now, on Thursday, Pliskova has to down Caro Wozniacki to make the semis. Right now, both of them are feeling good. There will be some long rallies, and Svitolina has to be patient. The same goes with Wozniacki, who has to be step in, rather than going way back on the court.

“[Against Wozniacki] it’s another tough battle. She’s a fighter and so am I,” Svitolina said. “It’s gonna be a tough match.”

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