WTA Dubai: Elina Svitolina extends her dominance over resurgent Angelique Kerber

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Elina Svitolina of Ukraine on Thursday prevailed over Japanese wild card Naomi Osaka 6-2, 6-4, earning a place in the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, a hard-court WTA event here. Nonetheless, the world number four claimed her fifth consecutive win over the former world number one, sealing a spot in the final to face Daria Kasatkina. Svitolina cruised through the second set and sealed her 11th title in 13 finals with her 18th victor, an appropriate inside-out forehand.

Showing imperious form and that gorgeous forehand, Elina Svitolina waltzed into the record books on Saturday evening, becoming only the third player to defend the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title.

It was the 11th singles title for the 23-year-old Svitolina, who had won a tour-high five titles in 2017, and added Brisbane to that list earlier this year. There were one, two points that decided the first set, and the second set, also (where I) came back into the match. I was just trying to fight for every ball because Garbine, she's playing unbelievable.

"Congrats to Daria for her performance". The German won just a mere 22 percent of her second deliveries, being broken on six different occasions.

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The 20-year-old Kasatkina showed stiff competitive spine fighting off three match points in the second-set tie break upsetting Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza 3-6, 7-6 (11), 6-1, to reach her first final of the season.

"Elina was the toughest opponent for this final", Kasatkina said. "It really motivated me".

"I think she has a good fitness level to be able to run a lot around the court".

"Before the match I was really, really exhausted". Refusing to give up easily, the Russian survived a couple of breaks and then three match points in a nail-biting tie-break to take the second. Yeah, she was playing really good during all week.

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"I think we believed in ourselves".

Svitolina enjoyed a comfortable victory over an opponent she has now beaten in their last five meetings. "I was really pleased the way I was playing the tough moments".

Remember the basket we did, the sound, and I told you "Dasha hit, for the guy who is in the top of the stadium", you see this forehand, that's what we're waiting for. Svitolina broke to 3-2, for the 17th time this week, and used at her best the crosscourt backhand to dictate the pace of the rallies. "Physically, it was very tough", the 4th-ranked Svitolina said. Yeah, I think that was the key.

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