Elina Svitolina ended the impressive claycourt streak of Simona Halep, beating the Romanian who had won 26 of her past 30 matches on clay 4-6 7-5 6-1 in the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. The Ukrainian has won her eighth career title and already fourth this season (she owns the most WTA singles titles this season and most overall wins)! The 22-year-old is now set to return to the Top 10 in the WTA rankings and will grab the No.1 position in the Porsche Race to Singapore Leaderboard.
In the first set, the eighth-seeded Svitolina was shaky in each of her service games, while in the fifth game of the set Halep broke her for the first time and quickly got to a 5-2 lead. Then, however, in a seemingly risk-free slide, Halep’s right foot got stuck in the clay and she twisted her ankle a bit. That incident scared the Romanian and although it was probably nothing serious, she lost her rhythm and Svitolina won two consecutive games. The sixth-seeded Halep finished what she started, though, and served out the set without losing a point.
Even though Halep opened the second set by breaking Svitolina’s serve, the Ukrainian raced away with three games in a row to lead 3-1 and despite Halep leveling to 5-5 later on, Halep’s confidence diminished, while Svitolina found her game and the match went into the third set.
In the decider, Halep sank even deeper and it looked like Svitolina didn’t even have an opponent at the other side of the net, storming through the final set 6-1.
After a first-round bye, the world No.11 Ukrainian defeated Alize Cornet 6-4 7-6(11) in the second round, Mona Barthel 3-6 6-0 6-0 in the third round, second seed Karolina Pliskova 6-2 7-6(9) in the quarterfinals, then third seed Garbine Muguruza retired midway through the first set of their semifinal and then she finally eliminated Simona Halep despite straightforwardly losing the first set.
If you haven’t had a look at our photos from the Internazionali BNL d’Italia this week, check out my photographer’s galleries now:
MORE PHOTOS FROM THE 2017 INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA: