Tennis

Svitolina eyes Grand Slam title, No.1 spot

Ukraine's Elina Svitolina believes she can become world No. 1 this year despite a host of challengers for the coveted top ranking.

Svitolina, the current world No. 6, was speaking after an impressive 6-2, 6-4 win over Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro in the first round of the Brisbane International yesterday.

The 22-year-old cruised through the first set but was forced to fight harder in the second as Suarez Navarro began to find her range with powerful groundstrokes.

But the Spaniard faltered while serving at 4-5 and Svitolina was able to close out the match in just under 90 minutes to set up a second-round clash with Croatia's Ana Konjuh.

Svitolina won five titles last year on her way to a career-high world ranking of No. 3.

She said she had worked hard during the off-season and there was no reason why she could not win a Grand Slam or take the top ranking.

Five women held the top spot at various times last year - Serena Williams, Angelique Kerber, Karolina Pliskova, Garbine Muguruza and current No. 1 Simona Halep.

Svitolina said her ability to raise her game to see off someone as dangerous as Suarez Navarro showed she was also capable of taking the next step. - AFP

Tennis