Svitolina retains Dubai crown as Kasatkina runs out of steam
Elina Svitolina is the first player on the WTA Tour to defend a title in 2018 after beating Darya Kasatkina in Dubai.
Top seed Elina Svitolina defended her Dubai Tennis Championships title on Saturday, with a straight-sets win over Darya Kasatkina.
Russian Kasatkina had saved five match points en route to her third WTA Premier final, but world number four Svitolina proved too canny, expertly crafting a 6-4 6-0 win in 70 minutes.
Svitolina has now won seven finals in a row, this her 11th career title, and the Ukrainian may be in line for a run in the world number one hot seat if she can maintain momentum.
The Ukrainian had to scrap from the off, with Kasatkina perhaps keen to get the job done quickly after marathon matches against Garbine Muguruza and Johanna Konta this week, but Svitolina did not look back once she broke for a 3-2 lead in the first set.
Kasatkina was the architect of her own downfall, meekly nudging into the net after racing to meet a drop shot before sending a forehand long.
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.
Kasatkina's coach Philippe Dehaes criticised her "afraid" approach in the first set, but that rebuke did not inspire a greater performance.
The exertions of the week seemed to catch up with Kasatkina all at once as her error count went through the roof, while Svitolina punished her with regular cross-court chasing to sail through a ruthless second set, capped with an in-to-out forehand winner - a weapon Kasatkina had no answer to throughout the contest.
"Her performance this week was unbelievable," a gracious Svitolina said of her opponent. "We're going to see more and more of her winning here."