Sunday’s Set Points, WTA Rome: Elina Svitolina retains Rome title

Sunday was the final day of the 2018 Internazionali d’Italia where the singles and doubles champions were decided. A recap of the singles final between Elina Svitolina and Simona Halep is included below. There are two tournaments next week in Strasbourg and Nurnberg with final preparations for the second Slam of the year in Paris! I won’t be blogging next week and will be intermittent for the first week of Roland Garros as i’ll be on holiday. Read on for seven stories in Sunday’s Set Points post.

Svitolina wins Rome

Elina Svitolina defended her Rome title with a 6-0 6-4 victory in Sunday’s final against the world number one, Simona Halep. This was Svitolina’s third title of 2018 and the second time in a row that she has defended a title (achieved that feat in Dubai earlier this year). All of Svitolina’s title runs this year have been very routine and uneventful, and she hasn’t really been tested along the way.

I think this was Elina’s best performance of the year, at least from the matches i’ve watched. She didn’t face a break point all match and was always positive and looking to come forward. The most impressive aspect of the performance, in my opinion, was not letting the momentum swing Halep’s way. Halep had a medical time-out midway through the second set and started to raise the intensity with her groundstrokes, staving off three break points to hold to 3-4. Svitolina could easily have backed off. She didn’t and kept trying to be positive and go after her shots. There’s no doubt for me that Elina is a contender for the French Open. I am still a tad wary as to whether she can hold it together mentally and be aggressive in the pressure moments of a Slam quarter-final or beyond.

For Simona, i’m glad that she at least ended the final playing her best tennis of the match. The first set was befuddling. Sadly, there’s been quite a few occasions where sets like these have gone by very quickly. The Romanian player was bothered by a back/hip injury in the second set – hopefully nothing serious. Again, a definite contender for the French but with question marks!

Doubles in Rome

Congrats to the new team of Ash Barty and Demi Schuurs who won the doubles title in Rome, beating Andrea Sestini Hlavackova and Barbora Strycova in the final.

Sharapova d. Ostapenko (Rome, QF)

I just finished watching Friday’s quarter-final between Maria Sharapova and Jelena Ostapenko where Sharapova scored a stirring, 6-7(6) 6-4 7-5 victory in three hours and ten minutes. It was a contest of undulating quality, but fabulous entertainment. Ostapenko’s down-the-line groundstrokes remain potent, yet her second serve is a concern. So much of this match seemed to come down to serve and it was Sharapova’s that seemed to hold up better in the pressure moments. Ostapenko, seemingly struggling with a leg injury in the third set, seemed to back off with Sharapova finishing superbly.

Halep d. Sharapova (Rome, SF)

I haven’t got round to watching Saturday’s semi-final between Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova where Halep scored her first three set win over Sharapova, prevailing 4-6 6-1 6-4. I did see Simona’s reaction though… wow!

Waiting for Lucie…

I was keeping an eye on the live scoreboard for Lucie’s first round match in Strasbourg on Sunday against Marina Melnikova. It got moved to court 1 but as I loaded the stream, the covers were on! The match has been called off for rain until Monday so will miss it.

French Open changes

There will be a new Court 18 at this year’s French Open – looks great!

My weekend

I went to Brownsea Island on Saturday with a friend. It was such a nice day and the weather was perfect. I took over 300 pictures!Β πŸ˜‚. I’ve moved on from cakes to pastry with my baking and tried a fruity frangipane tart on Sunday. Frangipane continues to thwart me!

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27 thoughts on “Sunday’s Set Points, WTA Rome: Elina Svitolina retains Rome title

  1. Near flawless display from Svitolina. She hit some outrageous drop shots, which I would love to see her do more of on clay!

    I feel really good about her chances at the French Open. She was so close last year and the improvements in her game since then, on serve and at the net, must surely count for something.


  2. I’m always amazed at the qualifying numbers for a Grand Slam. 48 matches(!!!) tomorrow for the first round in mens FO qualies.


    • Another stacked qualifying draw! Surprised that a former champ in Schiavone doesn’t get a main draw wild card. Also hoping to see Dolehide qualify.


  3. FO Qualies
    Big Match of the Day
    Grammatikopoulou def Zhuk 6-1, 1-6, 7-6
    Gramma is a small wiry girl whose name is much bigger than she is.
    I saw the last half of the 3rd set, which was a battle of errors. Gramma served for the match twice and lost. Zhuk was up 5-2 in the tie-break and lost 6-8.

    Bouchard retires —- again.

    Big upset
    Poots (#93) def Stephens (#10)


  4. Great win for Poots! She should be a lot higher than #93 though; has she had injury troubles or something?

    Not really surprised about Genie. I know she’s not the most popular player with most people (or apparently other players) but I find it sad to see her out of the top 100 when not so long ago she was in Singapore challenging for the WTA title.


    • I’m not a fan of Genie at all but I can’t help feel sad to see such a decline. It seemed that she was dropping down to the ITF tour when she got injured.


    • I do feel she has some talent and was a good junior player. It seems what is happening now is more psychological. A good mind check/ sports psych should help her get her mindset together. Then finesse her game a little for those plan b moments.
      Nothing against her really, but I hate to see talent underutilized at such a prime. Too few canucks manage to assail the tops of the tennis world. It’s still her prerogative what she chooses to do or where she chooses to go to.


      • I agree that the reason is largely psychological. I remember that matgh she had against Aga recently (forget where) where Aga was cruising to an easy two sets victory until it got to match point, when Genie suddenly woke up and decided to really try. Aga still won but she was made to really work hard for it in the end.


  5. Poots
    I don’t know about injuries, but Poots has lost a lot of first round matches. The last good runs she had were in Taipei ’18 and Tokyo ’17 where she went to the 3rd and 4th rounds, but other than those two events it been almost all first round losses.

    Barty def Parmentier 6-1, 6-4
    In the 1st set Barty only lost 4 points on her run to 5-0, but Barty says she doesn’t like playing in the dirt.


      • Agreed. I don’t see why Barty can’t be strong on the clay. I think it’s been a case of inexperience on this surface and she seems to be improving with each tournament.


      • I feel she is going to go big on hard courts before clay if at all. Just not sure of her patience for the clay surface. Even other baseline hitters who do well on the surface adapt some kind of patient approach in their game/ability. The one oddity being Ostapenko. Even Ostapenko played with supreme confidence in her seemingly ‘gung-ho’ style. You need a game suited for the surface, a natural, or confident patience in your game style to conquer the surface.


      • Barry DOES have a game suited to clay. She has a superb kick serve, a huge topsin forehand and wicked slice and drop shots. There’s a reason she’s compared so often to Sam Stosur…


    • Poots – very entertaining to watch but easily frustrated and distracted, and never seems safe with a lead. She’s got a lot of good facets to her game though so feel she should be higher.


      • Stosur found success on clay before hard courts though. Her first Slam final was on clay. She bombed in the final because of nerves, but had she not made it there then there’s a good chance she wouldn’t have been able to play the US Open final pressure free. Her first #1 win was on clay, when she beat Serena at the French.
        11 of her 29 top ten wins And 9 of her 24 finals came on clay. She also has a better overall win to loss record on clay in main draw matches versus hard courts according to matchstat.


  6. FO Draw
    The Rad and Bellis don’t appear to be in the draw.
    Perhaps The Rad is saving herself for the Wimbledon gourmet cow food.

    Benic and Konjuh appear to be playing, hopefully completely recovered.


  7. Apparently Czech police have arrested a man in connection with the Petra Kvitova attack.
    The man is 54 years old, but I thought the original info had a younger age.


    • Yes, I only know of that because Tina, a Czech follower of Petra’s, tweeted it a couple of days ago. I haven’t seen anything about it in the English-speaking press.

      I thought Petra’s assailant was younger too. It f it is him, though, great that they’ve finally caught him.


  8. Flipkens def Bertens 5-7, 6-3, 7-6
    Bertens should have easily won this match since she had much more power than The Flipper.
    Flipper’s dinking and dunking touch shots frustrated Bertens, who lost patience and went for too many killer shots which turned out to be losers by 1 or 2 inches.
    I was surprised that a clay court specialist such as Bertens would lose patience.
    Flipper was in fine form and fun to watch with a ton of well executed touch shots.


    • Agreed, I hope she rests herself. I gave the French Open a quick sweep over and her draw is ‘doable’ till the Quarters, I think. Some girls do have interesting first round matches.

      Probably the most balanced top tier tournament draw so far. The bottom half, I really like. Shame Caro’s form is not the greatest, but Petra, she is sitting pretty at least into the second week if not even the semis.
      Maria Sharapova is suddenly a very dangerous contender in the top half.

      I hope at least three of these women make the quarters, Kiki Bertens, Halep, Ka Pliskova, Svitolina, Petra, Garcia, Suarez or Stephens.


      • People saying Svitolina has an easy draw, but she’s got a lot of hard hitters in her half who enjoy clay (Osaka, Keys and potentially Petra in the semi’s). I’d really love to see her win though, just to prove the haters wrong.


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