Lesia Tsurenko won an impressive victory over France’s Kristina Mladenovic who is ranked 14 places above Tsurenko. The Ukranian powered through the first set taking it easily 6-1. Mladenovic who has already won in ST Petersburg this year, made more of a fight of the second set. However she dropped her serve at 5-6 as the Ukranian hit a winner down the line at match point to complete her victory, the third of her career.
Ashleigh Barty, who had taken time out of tennis to play some Big Bash cricket after her debut at the French Open in 2012, returned to the court in Malaysia and came through qualifying, going on to eventually win the tournament. She dominated the final breaking Japanese opponent Nao Hibino three times in a comfortable 6-3 6-2 victory. The win should push her up from her current 158 world ranking claiming her first title and showing she can go much further. Still only 20, Barty may be one to watch in the future.
Dubai Tennis Championship Final – Svitolina v Wozniacki
Brilliant Svitolina claims sixth WTA Title
Ukrainian Elina Svitolina took her second title of 2017 with an imperious display against Dane Caroline Wozniacki. Svitolina time and again turned defense into attack as the former world number 1 Wozniacki had no answer. Svitolina broke three times in a comfortable 6-4 6-2 win. Wozniacki’s form has shown a big improvement as this is her second final in two weeks, but she has been on the losing end both times. After winning in Taiwan Svitolina has added another title and moves into the top 10 for the first time. One to watch come the French Open and Wimbledon.
Timea Babos gave the home Hungarian crowd plenty to cheer winning an excellent quality final against Czech Lucie Safarova. After a tight first set it was Safarova who struck first taking the tie break. Babos got the break at 4-4 in the second set converting the only set point either player had. Babos then served four aces to level the score. She then took control breaking again to take the decider 6-3 and take her second WTA title.
Czech Karolina Pliskova continued her fine recent form to take her second WTA title of 2017 in Doha. She broke opponent Caroline Wozniacki’s serve in the very first game and dominated the first set taking it 6-3. She broke again in the opening game of the second but Wozniacki showed some character to break back and take it to a tie break. That too went all the way with Pliskova getting the key mini break at 7-8 to secure victory. The win is the eighth WTA title of her career but she has never been in better form than at present. Look for her to be a force at the French Open and Wimbledon as she will be looking for her first Grand Slam
Johanna Konta served a warning to competitors that she is bang in form dismantling Agneiszka Radwanska in the final of the Sydney International. The most trouble Konta was in was 0-30 down on her first service game, she turned that around and then broke in the third game serving out the remainder of the set and showing an array of power shots and fine serving including a second serve ace to take the first set 6-4. Konta then dominated the second set breaking twice to lead 4-0 and serving it out to take it 6-2 and win her second WTA title, securing her place in the top 10 and going into the Australian Open in fine form where she reached the Semi-Finals last year.
Elise Mertens was a qualifier for the Hobart International but came through a champion as she easily dispatched Monica Niculescu of Romania. Mertens had to win eight matches to take the title including beating top seed and fellow Belgian Kiki Bertens along the way. In the final itself she gave an impressive display dropping only four games. She choose to forgo Australian Open qualifying to concentrate on Hobart and it will pay off as the title will move her into the top 100.
Agnieszka Radwnaska claimed her 14th career tour title as she tuned up for the US Open. Elina Svitolina had produced some of the best tennis of her career to get to the Final but could not find the form early as Radwanska cruised through the first set 6-1 in just 29 minutes. Svitolina began to settle in the second set, with a break each and going all the way to the tie break. The Pole won the tie brake 7-3 as experience showed and it moves Radwanska into 4th on the World Rankings, boosting her chances of reaching the WTA Tour finals, as well as ensuring she is in good form going into the Final Grand Slam of the year.
After falling at the final hurdle in Rio, German Angelique Kerber did so again in Cincinnati. Kerber was surprisingly flat as the power of Karolina Pliskova was too much enabling the Czech took her first singles WTA title of the year. Pliskova raced into a 4-0 lead in the first set breaking Kerber twice and going on to take the first set 6-3. She broke straight away in the second as well moving to a 3-0 lead. Kerber held for 3-1 but was broken again in her next service game. Pliskova comfortably served it out to win the second set 6-1 and in the process stop Kerber going to World Number 1, which she would have done, overtaking Serena Williams had she won. As it is Serena remains number 1, and Pliskova will aim to build into the US Open in two weeks time.
Simona Halep continued her recent excellent form picking up her second title in three weeks with a straight sets win over American Madison Keys. Helep raced into a 4-2 to lead early on but Keys fought back to break and force a first set tie break. Halep controlled the breaker however taking it easily 7-2. She confirmed her dominance to break Keys n the third game of the second set and from there continued to hold serve. Keys hung in taking it to 5-4 and made it to 30-30 to put pressure on the Halep serve. Halep though stood strong to win the next two points to claim her third WTA title of the season.