Svitolina hopeful of major progress after making Singapore strides
31 October, 2018, 02:20 | Author: Rachael Silva
Elina Svitolina believes her improved mental and physical toughness helped her pull through a tricky three-setter against Kiki Bertens as the Ukrainian advanced to her first WTA Finals title match with a gutsy 7-5 6-7 (5) 6-4 triumph on Saturday.
The match lasted 2 hours and 25 minutes.
Sloane Stephens overcame a bad start against Karolina Pliskova to win 0-6, 6-4, 6-1 at the WTA Finals on Saturday, setting up a championship match against Elina Svitolina. "That's why I finished with a win today".
"I was just thinking I'm playing against the No. 2 player in the world and she's probably going to try a little bit harder now and try to win".
"It was just getting worse and worse every time I played", said Osaka.
Naomi is a very smart girl, she figures a lot of things by herself, it wasn't me so much going in and talking to her about you know, "Don't do this, don't do that, think like that", no, she's very good at that. "I'm very pleased that I could stay in the match and close it".
"But after I won the first game there was a rush of adrenalin and I told myself that if I could win one game, then I could win another".
It was a bitterly disappointing end for Osaka, who came into the season-finale as the form player but lost three-set matches to Sloane Stephens and Angelique Kerber. She loses the first set, still comes back wins the second, is I a winning position in the third against Kerber is lovely to see; where before I heard maybe she would have let the second set go.
Elina Svitolina will take on Kiki Bertens in the other semi-final after Bertens' opponent Naomi Osaka was forced to retire from their group match due to a thigh injury.
Osaka left the arena for a medical timeout after Bertens held easily to move 5-3 ahead, the 21-year-old returning with her thigh now heavily strapped and was immediately broken to love as she hobbled painfully around the baseline.
The match started tensely, with Kerber unable to convert seven break points in Stephens´ first three service games, and the missed opportunities proved costly.
"Everyone was, like, 'Oh, she's a one-hit wonder, she'll never do anything again, it was just lucky [she won the US Open], no one was playing, blah, blah, blah, '" Stephens said of her critics.
Svitolina has failed to go beyond the quarter-finals of a grand slam, but showed she can handle the pressure of the big stage in what was the last edition of the tournament to be staged in Singapore.
"Unfortunately, this is the previous year that Singapore is hosting this awesome tournament".
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