Svitolina downs Kasatkina to retain title

World No. 4 becomes only the third woman to successfully defend Dubai C'ship

Elina Svitolina beat Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 6-0 on Saturday to win the Dubai Championships for the second year in a row.

The fourth-ranked Ukrainian becomes only the third woman to retain the title, after Justine Henin (2003-2004) and Venus Williams (2009-2010).

Svitolina beat the 24th-ranked Kasatkina for the third time in as many meetings after the Russian had saved five match-points during the week in two matches.

“It’s amazing to win here again,” 23-year-old Svitolina said. “Even being the defending champion is amazing.

“I was just trying to hit the ball onto the court and make her run today. At the end, I’m very happy with how I played, with this whole week, actually.”

Kasatkina brought in the accumulated wear and tear of just over nine hours on court during the week, with the Russian blinking first in the final as she dropped serve to trail 3-2 on a wide return in the opener.

Kastakina saved three set-points to hold at 4-5 before the champion served out the opener after 44 minutes on her fourth opportunity.

The top seed immediately consolidated her advantage, breaking to start the second set and quickly racing away to a 3-0 lead as the reserves of Kasatkina began to drain further.

Svitolina made it 4-0 with ease and cantered to victory in just 70 minutes to earn the 11th title of her career. – AFP

Elina SvitolinaDaria Kasatkina