Saturday’s Set Points, WTA Toronto: Wozniacki vs. Svitolina for the title

Set PointsElina Svitolina won two matches on Saturday to keep her dreams of completing the Premier 5 sweep in 2017 alive. The Ukrainian player has had a magnificent week, taking out Venus Williams, Garbiñe Muguruza and Simona Halep en route to the final. Firstly, Svitolina beat Muguruza, 4-6 6-4 6-3, in the quarter-finals. Muguruza had taken the first set on Friday night. It was a very scrappy match on the resumption with the pair combining for a total of 98 unforced errors.

I felt like Muguruza was starting to turn the screw early on in the decider but it all seemed to come crashing down after a bad miss up at the net. The Spaniard seemed unsure of herself coming forward (the courts didn’t help) and rather unravelled as Svitolina became steadier and steadier, and hit with increasing depth. While the performance level was inconsistent, Svitolina continues to eek out these big wins.

At the same time, Simona Halep took to the court against Caroline Garcia on Grandstand court and registered her third straight sets win of the week, 6-4 6-2.

In the semi-finals, Svitolina tore past Simona Halep, 6-1 6-1 (!) in 56 minutes. The Ukrainian extinguished memories of their dramatic Roland Garros match. I must say that Svitolina is so resilient and is able to put past matches well and truly behind her. I remember a horror match against Kerber in Montreal last year where she had all manner of leads, yet couldn’t get across the finish line. A year on and she’s won her last four matches against Kerber.

Halep spoke in press about not feeling the ball and seemed baffled by the result. Playing two matches in one day is never easy and that was the case in Eastbourne earlier this year too.

In the first of the semi-finals, Caroline Wozniacki beat Sloane Stephens, 6-2 6-3. Wozniacki made a brilliant start and was serving especially well, dropping just eight points behind serve in the first set. Stephens began to play more patiently towards the end of the first set and it was clear she had the strokes to overpower Wozniacki. However, the consistency was not there against a rock-solid, Wozniacki. The Dane only hit eight winners, yet with solid serving, impressive depth and magnificent chasing, she helped to force many errors from the American.

For the second time this year, Wozniacki and Svitolina will contest a Premier 5 final. Their final records in 2017 are rather interesting…

Svitolina (4-0)

Taipei City Final – Svitolina d. Peng, 6-3 6-2

Dubai Final – Svitolina d. Wozniacki, 6-4 6-2

Istanbul Final – Svitolina d. Mertens, 6-2 6-4

Rome Final – Svitolina d. Halep, 4-6 7-5 6-1

Wozniacki (0-5)

Doha Final – Pliskova d. Wozniacki, 6-3 6-4

Dubai Final – Svitolina d. Wozniacki, 6-4 6-2

Miami Final – Konta d. Wozniacki, 6-4 6-3

Eastbourne Final – Pliskova d. Wozniacki, 6-4 6-4

Bastad Final – Siniakova d. Wozniacki, 6-3 6-4

Most alarming is that Wozniacki hasn’t won more than four games in any of the 10 sets she has played in finals in 2017! The stats all point to Svitolina… which naturally is making me think that something is bound to change here 😂. Seriously speaking, Svitolina has been winning most of these types of match-ups in 2017 and her confidence must be sky high after the wins this week. Svitolina rather comfortably beat Wozniacki in Dubai, yet I think Woz will be a bit fresher in this match having played two solid weeks back then in Doha and Dubai, and she had been struggling with a groin injury in the latter.

Svitolina definitely as the favourite, but I wouldn’t rule out Wozniacki from snapping the streak. It could be an epic…

 

The doubles final will be contested between Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina and Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke. The latter beat Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova in the semi-finals who had to play two matches in one day.

Lucie has the world number one spot in doubles in sight.

Qualifying got underway in Cincy on Saturday with wins for Magdalena Rybarikova, Camila Giorgi, Donna Vekic, Francesca Schiavone, Monica Puig, Ashleigh Barty, Taylor Townsend and Petra Martic. There are plenty of great follows on Twitter for keeping up with the action. To name just a few…

@NoleLisickiFam

@StephintheUS

@lawanda50

@CCSMOOTH13

@MGLovesTennis

@TennisInsideOut

The dream of Ostapenko vs. Sharapova is over as Maria has pulled out of Cincy with the forearm injury. The main draw preview is already up on the blog and i’m still deliberating about my predictions!

And finally, read about Tamira Paszek’s story and her battle with trigeminal neuralgia. Love Tamira and wishing her all the best 💚

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17 thoughts on “Saturday’s Set Points, WTA Toronto: Wozniacki vs. Svitolina for the title

  1. I keep LOLing at the Svitolina haters trying to justify why she’s a bad player and the level of reaching is ridiculous now. That’s 3 top ten wins in a row where people claim her opponent played a terrible match. How many before you consider it may not be coincidence, it may actually be down to how she plays?
    It reminds me of when Halep first came up and people said the same when she beat top players. And the same of Djokovic. Watch the Venus, Muguruza and Halep matches and look where Svitolina is hitting her groundstrokes. They are consistently SO deep and close to the lines making it impossible to do anything with. Watch how she returns serve… It’s like she studied Novak Djokovic and his unique approach to returning serve. Rather than trying to hit High risk winners she aims on getting a high percent into play and putting them in awkward positions with no pattern. Nothing is more annoying than when you can’t get a free point on serve, especially for someone like Williams or Garbine.

    Sorry for the rant buy here we are, 40 wins (from 48) 4 titles (2 being Premiere 5) and NINE top ten wins later, and people still making out she’s a weak player.

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    • It’s fine, rant away! I’m surprised by Svitolina’s run this week as it was a tough draw and I expected this run to come at Cincy as I thought she’d need a few more matches to find her groove. Generally, I feel the reaction to Svitolina has been more positive than a few years ago but I know what you mean. Unless she’s got a physical problem, I don’t see her pulling out of Cincy.

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      • No I don’t see her pulling out either. She isn’t down to play New Haven either I noticed. She has a really solid record in Cincinatti although she doesn’t have a great deal to defend from last year.
        She’ll be a lot of people’s favourites to have a good run in New York now though. I’d say she’s probably just behind Halep, Pliskova, Wozniacki and Venus in terms of potentially winning.

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    • I know @Andrew is not going to like this, but I appreciate why some people don’t like her. You know I like Svitolina, and I’ve always said she is most vulnerable at the start of tournaments, but once she gets a feel for it, she gets better as the tournament progresses.

      I for one am also still waiting for her to come of age, so to speak, at one of these grand slams. I know she can win these tournaments, but I need her to display her mettle with her game and carve a path to victory at one of the slams.

      To me, she’s not a weak player, I have no qualms with her kind of tennis. I really like the improvements to her game and the current fitness level she shows. But, lovers of power, baseline tennis will always find her game unexciting. Plus, stats are great if you are invested in said player. It’s different strokes for different folks. Reminds me of peak Wozniacki, she basically won every other tournament but for the slams. Even then, people questioned her suitability as the number one ranked player. Here you have both Pliskova and Halep all zoning for number 1 without a Slam win as of now. Don’t see any tears about the injustice of Pliskova carrying the top ranking without a slam win.

      Interestingly, you also have Caroline with a not too dissimilar style doing great at this tournament too.
      I hope they both carry this attitude and form to the USopen.

      PS. As for those get out of jail free serves, I think every player will love to have one in their arsenal. Even at my local meets, with my abysmal serve percentage, when one goes through, it’s a joy.

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      • I feel it’s ludicrous comparing Svitolina to #1 Wozniacki. Svitolina doesn’t approach matches with the same approach in the slightest anymore. She’s immediately attacking. Her first serve is better than Wozniackis has ever been and she really hits through the court on both wings. She doesn’t have Pliskova levels of power but she can more than generate her own which is why she has a very good record against defensive type players.

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      • Svitolina has improved. She is now playing the best tennis in her career.

        Nevertheless, your comment towards Wozniacki is ludicrous who has in fact outaced Pliskova recently. And IMO Woz FH has been never better than in 2017.

        Immediately attacking…
        Really don’t expect that in Wozniacki – Svitolina…

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      • Maybe you didn’t notice by what I said, but I was referring to when Wozniacki was #1 as thats what Let’s Play commented on.
        Wozniacki’s serving stats have been a little misleading though. She’s scored aces against girls who aren’t necessarily known for being the strongest returners, but she didn’t score any against Aga.

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  2. Svitolina, the player who folks on here said couldn’t win big titles, makes history as first WTA player to win 3 premier 5 level titles in a single season.
    Bow down bitches.

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    • That must be satisfying, Andrew 😉 I had the same feeling last year when Kerber won AO and US Open when people started to claim Serena wasn’t playing her best (might be true but who cares afterwards) and Kerber was just the “lucky” one to claim the top spot as no one really stepped up the game.
      There will always be players that receive hate and vulture comments (such as Svitolina, Kerber, Aga, Wozniacki). However, there are different kind of players and it is GREAT that there is such diversity.
      I like your comparison with Djokovic 🙂 I wasn’t a huge fan at the beginning of Svitolina’s career but I like consistent game play as much as I like power and timing (Muguruza, Pliskova, Ostapenko) and I feel like Svitolina has been the most consistent player this year. I really do hope she’s going to make at least the US Open semis just to shut down the haters. I feel like she will be year end no. 1… sooo kudos to you for predicting her to be a TOP 5 player!

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      • It certainly is. And I agree, I really hope she can win US Open to at least nullify some of the hate directed at her. It’s incredibly annoying that Halep and Radwanska get so much love and praise when neither of those has won a Slam either. They’ve barely even come close between them…

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      • Well they do receive hate though. It’s just best to ignore the haters and enjoy WTA tennis 🙂 I definitely did this year (although my favourite player Angie has lost track a little bit) and I’m not going to be angry about those stupid people anymore. I’m entirely happy with all grand slam winners so far and I absolutely love that we don’t know who is going to be year end no. 1.

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      • The ATP is more chaotic right now, in my opinion. You’ve got two players who are well past peak making a last hurrah while the two best players of the last few years are out of action and only one young player seems to be making any kind of an impression (but boy is he!)

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      • Andrew, where is all this “hate” towards Svitolina that you keep talking about? I’m afraid I don’t see it – she’s very widely respected, both by tennis fans and her fellow players.

        Possibly people on the whole don’t warm to her as much as they do to some other players, but that might be because she’s obviously a “grown up” – the sort of girl who got made a prefect at school and doesn’t get into any of the scrapes and embarrassing episodes that other girls of her age (she’s 22) sometimes get into.

        I saw an interview with her recently where she said that she reads books about business to learn how best to invest her money – you can bet that no one had to tell her to do that, she would have worked it out for herself.

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      • Graham there is plenty of hate towards her. You’ll see it on twitter, on youtube and all over these blogs. I think it’s calmed down on this particular blog, but sometimes you can tell as much from a muted silence towards her winning events as you can from actual negative comments.
        Heck a few of the guys in my tennis club moan how boring she is everytime I bring her up calling her a pusher. Nevermind that she can hit a better winner than any of them.

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      • The hate on Twitter a few years ago was OTT. I do think she has generally become more respected, particularly this year. I don’t disagree with the muted silence comment but I feel people are coming round. I’m not afraid to say I didn’t think Elina would crack the top ten a few years, let alone the top five. She’s really proved me wrong with her improvements and her desire to be a bit more aggressive. I also think she has come out of her shell in media and I really warm to her personality.

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