WTA Strasbourg: Elina Svitolina downs Elena Rybakina to lift the trophy

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WTA Strasbourg: Elina Svitolina downs Elena Rybakina to lift the trophy

In the battle of the 2nd and 5th seeds, Elina Svitolina took down Elena Rybakina 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 in an hour and 52 minutes for the 15th WTA title and momentum ahead of Roland Garros. Svitolina claimed six points more than Rybakina, fending off eight out of ten break chances and reducing the number of unforced errors to 23 while the young Kazakh counted to 34.

Elena had the upper hand after the second set before losing ground in the second part of the decider, missing a chance to claim the second title of the season after Hobart. It was fast and fluid tennis on a cold day in Strasbourg, with an entertaining battle in the opener.

Competing in the Tour-leading fifth WTA final of the season, Rybakina held at 30 in the first game following a backhand error from Svitolina, who got her name on the scoreboard with a drop shot winner in game two. Hard-hitting Kazakh closed the third game with a forehand down the line winner, spraying a forehand wide in the next one to hand the game to Elina.

The first break of serve came in game five when Elena netted a backhand, falling 3-2 behind and creating the first break opportunity a few minutes later. Svitolina saved a break point with a forehand crosscourt winner, bringing the game home with another forehand winner after four deuces.

Rybakina produced commanding holds in games seven and nine to remain in touch before Svitolina closed the set with a perfect drop shot at 5-4 after 39 minutes. Rybakina saved a break chance at the beginning of the second set with a service winner, gaining momentum and stealing Svitolina's serve in the next game after forcing an error from the Ukrainian.

Elina lost the ground behind the initial shot in those moments, fending off a break chance with a service winner in game four and falling 5-1 behind following a double fault in game six.

Elina Svitolina claimed the 15th WTA title in Strasbourg, beating Elena Rybakina.

Serving for the set, the Kazakh held at 30 to wrap up the second part of the match, becoming the favorite ahead of the decider.

There, Svitolina had to work hard in the first game, repelling five break chances to end her downfall and gain a boost. In an even longer game, Elena fought off two break opportunities in game four to remain on the positive side of the scoreboard, only to fade from the court after that.

Elina held at love in the fifth game and grabbed a break at 15 that pushed her 4-2 in front, producing another hold at love to race into a 5-2 lead. Serving to stay in the match, Rybakina suffered another break to propel Svitolina over the top, with both players turning the focus on Roland Garros that starts tomorrow.