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WTA TORONTO - Svitolina made history

WTA TORONTO - Svitolina made history

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by Alessandro Mastroluca

Elina Svitolina made history. The Ukrainian became the first woman to win three Premier 5 titles in a single season. The No.5 seed, projected to climb to No.4 improving her best rank, won the last eight games in a row to dismiss Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 6-0.

The Dane, after losing to the Ukrainian at Dubai title-match, falls to 0-6 in WTA finals, 0 for 12 in sets played. By winning the Rogers Cup final, Svitolina joins current No.1 Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep, and former No.1 Angelique Kerber in the hunt to take the top spot in the WTA rankings after the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.She can become No.1 by winning the title or reaching the final, and none of the other four win Cincinnati with Simona Halep out before the semifinals.

Wozniacki had to save a break point, that Svitolina produced for herself winning a challenging 20-shot rally, in the first game with her second ace. The Ukrainian defended well but dumped two easy forehands from 40-15 in her opening service game.

However, she was the first to break when the former No.1 put a return wide after Svitolina restarted the point with a fantastic backhand. A couple of exhausting rallies and a double fault led Wozniacki to break back. The Dane continued to hit high on her opponent backhand to lead 3-2 Wozniacki, after losing all the five finals played so far, had hard times in managing the game on the windy side.

The 2010 champion was bidding too become the 12th player in the Open Era to win the tournament multiple times, joining Evonne Goolagong Cawley (1972-73), Chris Evert (1974, 1980, 1984-85), Regina Marsikova (1977-78), Martina Navratilova (1982-83), Stefanie Graf (1990, 1993), Arantxa Sánchez Vicario (1992, 1994), Monica Seles (1995-98), Martina Hingis (1999-00), Serena Williams (2001, 2011, 2013), Amélie Mauresmo (2002, 2004) and Justine Henin (2003, 2007).

But she made two double faults and Svitolina reclaims the initiative at 4-3. Neither the on court coaching by Andrew Bettles helped Svitolina, sealing the eight top 5 win this season, nor the good momentum, helped her in holding.

However, Wozniacki surrendered after a disastrous game, a break to love punctuated by another double fault, and Svitolina served with the wind for the opening set. Wozniacki saved one set point with an audacious net solution, but Svitolina had the wind at her back and led the wind blow back her hair.

The Dane missed twice and the No.5 seed took the opening set. Svitolina had won 63.4% of return games played this week before the final, compared to her season average of 44.2%. Her significant improvement in the final made her improve to 10-3 her tour‐leading record against Top 10 players in 2017.

Svitolina, the second-best player in terms of match wins behind Wozniacki (44 to 46), saved with an ace a break point in the fourth game and easily completed an historical success. Since the level was introduced in 2009, no player has won three Premier 5 events in a season.

Only Caroline Wozniacki (2010) , Maria Sharapova (2011), Serena Williams (2013, 2014) and Victoria Azarenka (2013) managed to seal two titles of this kind. And all four players reached World No.1. Svitolina is prefectly entitled to follow their path.

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