Elina Svitolina fends off Caroline Wozniacki for fifth title of 2017 at Rogers Cup in Toronto - UBITENNIS
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Elina Svitolina fends off Caroline Wozniacki for fifth title of 2017 at Rogers Cup in Toronto

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Fifth seed Elina Svitolina has continued her career-best 2017 season, claiming her fifth title at the Rogers Cup in Toronto with a 6-4, 6-0 win over former world number one Caroline Wozniacki.

 

The remarkable year of Elina Svitolina continued to roll on, as the world number five claimed a tour-best fifth title of 2017 at the Rogers Cup in Toronto. It was a match of polar opposite story lines for Svitolina and Wozniacki, as the Ukrainian moved to 5-0 in finals in 2017 with her 6-4, 6-0 victory over sixth-seed Wozniacki, while the Dane’s nightmare performances in championship matches continued as she fell to a horrendous 0-6 record in title matches in 2017.

Besides the prestigious WTA Premier 5 title on the line in Canada, both players are still in the running to become world number one following next week’s Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, but with Svitolina’s third Premier 5 of 2017, she moves ahead of Wozniacki in that battle for the top spot.

“I need some time still to really realize, because I had so many matches for the last two days and it’s been really, really tough physically,” said Svitolina. “Today was very hot, so I’ve been really struggling. I’m just very happy that it’s finished – and with a title, it’s even more special.”

“It’s amazing that I achieved this, but I try to take one tournament at a time, to not think so much about all the past titles,” said a jubilant world number five. “Of course it brings me confidence, I have the experience from those finals, but I try to take it as a new challenge and always look forward to it.” 

Elina Svitolina hits a forehand at the Rogers Cup in Toronto/Zimbio/Vaughn Ridley

In the opening set, it was a narrow battle between both, as the opening four games were split. with Svitolina and Wozniacki holding to begin the match before exchanging breaks of serve for 2-all. After the pair both held for 3-all, it was the fifth seed who began to take the driver’s seat as she broke Wozniacki for 4-3. Despite being broken back with a poor service game, the Ukrainian played a pitch-perfect return game the following time, as she broke the former world number one at love to go up 5-4. Looking to serve out the opening set, it was Svitolina who held her nerve, taking the first set 6-4 on her second time of asking.

The second set was another example of a polar opposite on display in Toronto, as Svitolina went on a run, white-washing Wozniacki in the second. The Ukrainian fifth seed set the tone early on in the second set, breaking the former world number one on her first time of asking, a seemingly deflating game for the Dane. Svitolina, having already won this season in Dubai and Rome, kept up her relentless play, consolidating the break only to secure another to go up 3-0 and a double break. The 22-year-old Ukrainian saved the only break point she faced the entire second set before seemingly putting the final nail in Wozniacki’s coffin to go up 5-0 and give herself the chance to serve for the title in Toronto. Svitolina closed out the title in impressive fashion, claiming the title on her second time of asking and wrapping up a strong performance 6-4, 6-0 to take her fifth title of 2017.

Following the match in her post-match press conference, Svitolina said, “I was very, very tired after the first game of first set, and I knew that I need to give everything because Caroline doesn’t miss much. You have to work really hard to get unforced error from her,” said the Ukrainian. “I just decided I’m going to just play every ball and just leave everything on court.” 

“That’s why, emotionally I was relieved when I won the first set, and then was playing better and better in the second. I really couldn’t believe that it all finished and I’m holding the trophy,” commented Svitolina.

“Today, I was going to into the match and I was thinking, ‘Okay, this is not the final.’ Just try to think that this is a quarterfinal, because we could play with Caroline [in a] quarterfinal, semifinal,” said the fifth seed. “The one we played in Dubai I was under big pressure. It was the first time that I was entering top 10. That win was just amazing…but I got the experience from that match because she’s very tough player.”

“You need to have a clear mind and clear plan what you do on court, so I learned little bit more from that match and it really definitely helped me today to manage my nerves and be calm on the important moments,” concluded Svitolina.

Elina Svitolina kisses the Rogers Cup trophy in Toronto/Zimbio/Vaughn Ridley

As for Caroline Wozniacki, the former world number one was visibly disappointed to have lost her sixth final in 2017, but still trying to take the positives out of the successful week in Toronto.

“It was a tough day. She played well. She mixed up the pace and made it uncomfortable for me out there,” said Wozniacki. “Today, probably I could have used some more pace, but she played really smart today and used my pace to her advantage.”

“I wasn’t really expecting much out of myself when I came into the tournament. Obviously, I haven’t won a match [in Toronto] before, but it was a good week and I beat some great players, and I can really take a lot with me and be proud of that,”  concluded the Danish world number six.

Svitolina and Wozniacki will next move on to the hardcourts of Cincinnati at the Western & Southern Open, where both will have a shot at the number one ranking following a second straight WTA Premier 5 event.

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Why Newly Married Elina Svitolina Has No Plans To Change Her Surname

The Ukrainian explains why she isn’t using her husband’s surname of Monfils just yet as she books her place in the third round at Tokyo 2020.

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Just over a week ago Elina Svitolina tied the knot with her long-time partner Gael Monfils at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Shortly after the world No.6 took to social media and changed her name on Twitter to Elina Monfils as part of the tradition that the woman takes on the man’s name once they are married. As a consequence, various websites started to identify the Ukrainian under that name. Although she would rather that they don’t do such a thing.

“I don’t know why they changed my surname. Maybe they saw that I had changed it on my social networks,” Svitolina told BTU.
“I’m going to play as Svitolina till the very end of my professional career and will change it only after retirement.”

Svitolina explains she believes it is better if all of her achievements are made under the same name instead of two. So far in her career she has won 15 WTA titles, reached two Grand Slam semi-finals and has earned more than $20.5M in prize money.

I had numerous achievements and people know me as Svitolina. My father would be upset if I changed the surname and played as Monfils,” she joked.
“I am proud to be Svitolina and my tennis career will always be connected with this surname.”

Over the coming week the 26-year-old is hoping to add an Olympic medal to her resume. On Monday Svitolina survived a stern scare after coming back from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanović 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and move into the third round of the tournament. Her win came on the day where there were shocks galore in the women’s draw with seeds Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova all crashing out.

Svitolina will play Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the next round whom she has lost to in two out of their three previous meetings.

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Why Ash Barty Isn’t Staying At The Olympic Village In Tokyo

The two-time Grand Slam champion has opted to stay at an alternate venue heading into the Games.

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Ashleigh Barty (AUS) playing against Angelique Kerber (GER) in the semi-final of the Ladies' Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 10 Thursday 08/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jed Leicester

Ash Barty will prepare for her debut at the Olympic Games by staying at a base located outside of the athletes village as part of her ‘performance plan.’

 

The world No.1 heads into Tokyo as one of the favourites for gold following her triumph at Wimbledon where she defeated Karolina Pliskova in the final. She is one of six top 10 players set to play in the women’s singles tournament which will start on Saturday.

Leading up to the Games, the head of the Australian Olympic delegation has told reporters that Barty’s decision not to stay in the village will enhance her gold medal chances. In previous Games athletes have stayed outside of the villages but this year it is more challenging to do so due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tokyo is currently in a state of emergency and fans are banned from attending the event amid fears of the virus spreading if they do so.

“Ash is staying elsewhere,” chef de mission Ian Chesterman told the Australian Associated Press.
“We have a number of athletes staying outside the village. We allow that, it’s just what works best for them.
“Something I’ve always been very big on is driving performance takes a whole lot of flexible decisions, flexible options.
“In terms of her performance plan, it’s best served by her being able to control her environment and we respect that.”

The exact location of Barty’s base has not been disclosed but it is near to the village where she was said to have visited and had a cup of coffee on Tuesday morning.

She is staying in an Australian environment where she can still easily access the village,” Chesterman stated.

The 25-year-old is bidding to become only the second Australian in history to win a medal in the women’s singles at the Olympics. The first was Alicia Molik who claimed a bronze medal back in 2004.

During a recent interview with The ITF, Barty said playing at the event is a dream come true for her as she describes representing her country as the ‘highest honour.’

“Being an Olympian has always been a dream of mine as a kid, I think representing your country is the highest honour,” Barty told the ITF.
“For an Aussie it’s the best thing you can do and I can’t wait to have an opportunity to wear the green and gold.
“You’re playing for something bigger than yourself. You’re playing to represent your nation. You’re playing to make people proud and that’s not just with results it’s with your attitude.”

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Bianca Andreescu pulls out of Tokyo Olympics

The world number five has officially pulled out of the Olympics in Tokyo stating reasons due to the ongoing pandemic situation.

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Bianca Andreescu will not be making the trip to Tokyo to play in the Olympics after withdrawing due to the current pandemic situation.

 

The former US Open champion issued a statement concerning what she describes as a ‘difficult decision.’ Andreescu is the latest top name to pull out of the Olympics. Last week Nick Kyrgios also said he wouldn’t be playing for similar reasons. Due to a a surge of COVID-19 cases in Tokyo, the city has gone into a state of emergency which prompted organisers to ban spectators from attending Olympic events in the city. Athletes will be subjected to tough restrictions during their time at the event, as well as regular testing.

” I would like to inform you that I have made the very difficult decision to not play in the Tokyo Olympics later this month,” Andreescu wrote on Instagram. “I have been dreaming of representing Canada at the Olympics since I was a little girl but with all the challenges we are facing as it relates to the pandemic, I know that deep in my heart, this is the right decision to make for myself. I look forward to representing Canada in future Fed Cup ties, and competing at the 2024 Olympics in Paris! “

The Canadian hasn’t played since losing in the first round of Wimbledon to Alize Cornet of France and most recently split with her coach Sylvain Brunneau after a four-year partnership.

Her 2021 season has been up and down starting in Australia where she lost in the second round before making the semifinals at the Phillips Island Trophy event. She then made the final at the Miami Open before taking a fall in the final against Ash Barty and was forced to retire due to injury.

Then the clay-court season came and Andreescu tested positive for Covid. She was forced to miss events in Madrid and Rome, so she headed to Strasbourg for some preparation before the French Open. The world No.5 won two matches in Strasbourg before pulling out due to an ab injury. She then lost in the first round of the French Open.

The Canadian moved on to the grass-court season heading to Berlin but again would get upset in the first round by Alize Cornet before winning one round in Eastbourne and losing to Anett Kontaveit.

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