World no. 6 and two-time Dubai champion Elina Svitolina is yet to find her best tennis in 2020, keeping it hidden even at one of her favorite events in the calendar. The two-time Major semi-finalist from a previous season lost early in Brisbane, Melbourne and Hua Hin, heading to Dubai with high hopes as a former champion and someone who spent the preseason there.
Nonetheless, the Ukrainian couldn't turn tables around, suffering a massive 6-2, 6-1 loss to a qualifier Jennifer Brady in an hour to make her season even worse. Brady fended off three out of four break chances to limit the damage in her games, taking 62% of the return points to grab five breaks from seven opportunities, using the fact Elina served at only 49% and having the upper hand all the time.
Svitolina claimed four out of 19 points after missing the first serve, getting broken five times in a row to hit rock bottom and get back to the drawing board ahead of her next tournament. The American saved two break chances in the first game of the match and claimed the last four games from 2-2 to grab the opener and gain momentum.
Having nothing left in the tank to fight or change the outcome, Elina suffered three straight breaks in set number two to propel the opponent into the second round, having to work much harder to get back at her best in the upcoming events.
"It's tough to say what went wrong; I don't know. It was not a bad start but then everything just went downhill. I wish I could regroup better. In the end, I didn't feel the ball well; my entire game was all over the place today," Svitolina said.
"I'm trying to find what's going on, what I have to add to improve. It's very tough to pick one thing because everything has to come together. I have to be stronger physically and in better shape. We're working hard, but something is maybe not right now. We will try to find that particular moment where I will feel better and play better."