Elina Svitolina wins Dubai, will debut in top 10

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Saturday February 25th, 2017

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Elina Svitolina of Ukraine is set to debut in the top 10 after winning her second title of the season at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Saturday.

Svitolina dominated Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-2 in the final that started two hours late because of rain.

''It's big relief, because I knew that if I win this match, I'm gonna be top 10,'' Svitolina said. ''There was extra pressure. (And) when I was warming up, added even more pressure because they announced it. It didn't help.''

Svitolina earned her final berth by knocking out top-seeded Angelique Kerber in a three-set semifinal.

The Dubai tournament is the most prestigious title of the six that Svitolina's won. The previous five were lower-level WTA events, including the Taiwan Open this month. She is on a 12-match winning streak.

Svitolina has won both times she's played against Wozniacki, although the first at the Miami Open last year was a much harder victory.

Both players were content to remain fastened to the baseline in Dubai, but Svitolina's firepower set them apart.

''I kind of felt like I ran out of steam a little bit and she took advantage of that,'' Wozniacki said. ''She stepped it up a little bit, and that was kind of that.

''Obviously, it's frustrating when you see what you want to do out there and you just can't do it.''

Svitolina took advantage of her second match point by shutting down Wozniacki with a blistering backhand that painted the sideline.

Beyond losing her serve at love in the second game of the second set, Svitolina saved the other three break points she faced.

This was Wozniacki's second consecutive final in as many weeks, but she also left without the winner's trophy from Doha last week. She was now 25-19 in career finals.

''I can take a lot of positives with me from this week,'' Wozniacki said. ''I'm hoping for a good season.''

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