Svitolina defeats Halep in straight sets to qualify for Shenzhen semifinals

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Defending champion Elina Svitolina earned her second Top 5 victory this week by beating Simona Halep 7-5 6-3 in the Purple Group on Day 4 of the 2019 Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen, thus ensuring a berth in the semifinals of the season-ending event.

Elina Svitolina Shenzhen 2019

The eighth-seeded Svitolina opened the match with a 3-0 lead, without losing a single point in any of her first two service games, helped by Halep’s seven unforced errors. The Ukrainian’s dominance didn’t last long, as Halep broke at love in the fifth game and the match seemed to be progressing into a tiebreak. However, resilient and confident Svitolina cut the set short with another love break as Halep threw in too many errors.

The second set was just as dramatic. When Svitolina broke Halep’s serve without dropping a point to lead 5-3, we knew that the fifth-seeded Romanian could very easily stay alive, since she’s shown that she can break Svitolina and in her previous match against Bianca Andreescu she fended off a match point to win in three sets. However, today it was Svitolina who coolly took care of business, as the reigning champ got out of a 15-40 hole on serve and converted her first match point.

After earning her first Top 5 win of the season on Monday against No.2 Karolina Pliskova, Svitolina has now claimed another one to go 2-0 in the Purple Group and book a spot in the Shenzhen semifinals. Her position in the group is yet to be determined.

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