Though Svitolina’s form has been a bit up-and-down this season, she has seemed at ease in Dubai where she is the two-time defending champion. And on the evidence of the stupendous form she has shown in her first two matches, there is no reason why she cannot make it a hat-trick of titles this year.
Her first match saw her pitted against Ons Jabeur where the first set saw a tight contest, before it fizzled into a one-sided affair, where the latter retired, down 0-4 in the second set. The Ukrainian followed that up with a mighty impressive win against the twelfth seed Garbine Muguruza.
She let Muguruza win just three games in this shockingly one-sided match. She broke Muguruza five times while being broken just once. She won 67% of her first serves and her second serve win percentage was at an impressive 75. The fact that she won 23 points more than the Spanish star exemplifies how thoroughly she dominated this match.
Her opponent in the quarterfinal will be another Spanish player, the thirty-year-old former world number six, Carla Suarez Navarro. She is one of the few players in the WTA circuit with a single-handed backhand, and when she is on fire, her backhand is a sight to behold.
She has produced some of her best tennis in recent times in this tournament. She simply annihilated Barbara Strycova in her first round match and was mighty impressive in her second round match against Zhang Shuai as well. She won both matches in straight sets.
But it is her performance against Kristina Mladenovic in the last round which should give her a lot of confidence. Mladenovic was coming into this match high on confidence after toppling the world number one, Naomi Osaka.
But she succumbed to Navarro in straight sets. However, Navarro was far from perfect in this match. She especially struggled on her serve and lost her serve five times. The fact that she still managed to win in straight sets owes primarily to her return game as she broke the French star a whopping seven times.
But against an in-form and more consistent Svitolina, Navarro has her task cut out. She cannot afford to have another off day on her serve against one of the best returners in the game.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to win in straight sets