Kasatkina upsets Muguruza to reach Dubai final

WTA Dubai Elina Svitolina successfully defends her title with win over Daria Kasatkina

WTA Dubai Elina Svitolina successfully defends her title with win over Daria Kasatkina

Top-seeded Elina Svitolina did not drop serve sweeping Daria Kasatkina, 6-4, 6-0, to successfully defend her Dubai championship.

Elina Svitolina will be going for her 11th career title.

The victor broke in the fifth game of the opening set but was temporarily stalled as Kasatkina saved three set points in the ninth game before Svitolina served out the set a game later.

"It's wonderful. coming back and playing as defending champion", Svitolina said.

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Top-seeded defending champion Dominic Thiem of Austria tumbled out of the Rio Open on Friday, falling 6-4, 6-0 to Spain's Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals of the clay-court event.

Kasatkina, the youngest Dubai finalist since 2010, deserved every praise for the way she fought back from the most hopeless positions in the tournament, saving three match points against Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza in the semifinal and two match points against British seventh seeded Johanna Konta in the 179-minute round of 16 match - the fifth longest match of the tournament since 2008.

Svitolina beat Kasatkina for the third time in as many meetings.

"I was actually practicing with her in Doha the first day I arrived". I think just today I was not playing my best.

Elina Svitolina celebrates after winning match point to claim the title
Elina Svitolina celebrates after winning match point to claim the title

All three of Daria Kasatkina's finals have come at Premier level, and this marks the Russian's first final on outdoor hard courts.

The Russian showed signs of her scrapping nature by saving three set points at 5-3 down, but Svitolina pierced her defences when back on serve to move ahead. "(But) I feel I really struggled physically because I've been playing so many matches in a row.

"She's very tough opponent". The fourth-ranked Ukrainian improved to 14-2 for the year. "It is what it is", said Kasatkina.

She and Yang Zhaoxuan, who had never won a title above worldwide level so far, upset No.4 seeds Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai, bidding for their 13th trophy together, 4-6 6-2 10-6.

"I'm remaining positive, I managed to play a lot of matches, good ones, final and semifinal".

"I think we believed in ourselves".

"I'm happy with how I handled the pressure, I was very happy with my performance on the court". Yeah, I think that was the key. The exchange of breaks continued between them till Hao-Ching and Yang took 5-4 lead.

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