Svitolina labours as former number ones book Dubai clash

Danny Woods
February 24, 2018

The defending champion and top seed at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Elina Svitolina, needed only an hour and 22 minutes to beat the Japanese star, Naomi Osaka, 6-2, 6-4, and confirm her place in the semi-finals of the Premier 5 tournament. "I felt that whoever could win it, would win the match", Muguruza said. "Yeah, I'm very happy that I saved little bit more energy on my next opponent".

Svitolina's victory over Caroline Wozniacki in the final previous year not only earned her the biggest title of her career - her first-ever Premier 5 win - but also lifted her into the world's top 10 for the first time.

Svitolina told reporters post-match that she was relieved the match had not gone to a third set.

"I'm just playing. I'm trying to win every match".

Russia's Daria Kasatkina saved two match points in the second set before rallying to beat British wild-card entry Johanna Konta 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-2 after a marathon encounter in which the second set alone took 76 minutes.

Muguruza faced several problems trying to find her feet early in the encounter, with multiple errors allowing Kasatkina to earn four break points in the opening game. I was just trying to stay in the match and trying to not think about how she was playing.

Kerber has won a record-equalling 15 matches this year but admitted she was not at her best against Svitolina.

The top-seeded Ukrainian dominated double Grand Slam victor Kerber in 85 minutes with five breaks of serve against the German, a former world number one.

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At the Hungarian Ladies Open, home hope and reigning champion Timea Babos was beaten in a tie-break by Mona Barthel, who triumphed 6-4 4-6 6-3.

Svitolina has won 6 of 7 against the German winning the last 4 including a victory in the Dubai semifinals a year ago. She's hitting so hard, playing so fast. "It's great to be back in the top 10, playing good tennis again".

"It was such a tough match", Kasatkina said.

"I'm really happy to have won this match", Vesnina said.

"I know how to play on the centre court".

She returned for the early evening session to put in a strong performance in the opening set against the charismatic French player, No4 seed Caroline Garcia. Didn't have that many matches for last couple of weeks since I came from Melbourne.

Angelique Kerber advanced to her third semi-final of the calendar year by beating Karolina Pliskova at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

"I'm just finding the rhythm of the matches".

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