Wuhan Open 2019: Elina Svitolina sweeps Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets
Elina Svitolina was at her very best for the second time at the Wuhan Open on Wednesday. She ousted Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets 6-4, 6-2 on centre court at the Wuhan Valley Optical Tennis Centre.
The two met for the fourth time, with the Russian once again looking for a way to level the head-to-head record. The world number three last defeated Kuznetsova in Cincinnati in three sets in the round of 32. After beating Garbine Muguruza is straight sets, Svitolina looked to keep the momentum going when she faced her seasoned opponent.
A good start with three straight points allowed Kuznetsova to use her forehand and backhand shots, keeping Svitolina at bay for the service hold. The third seed held strong and allowed the Russian veteran only a single point in the second game. Going for a break in the third, Kuznetsova rallied to force deuce and ran through five breaks, stopping three chances for the 25-year-old to break.
The Ukrainian answered with a strong serve to love and consolidated with the first official break of the set. Svitolina gained momentum from the unforced errors and easily put away the sixth. She couldn’t contain the service, however, as Kuznetsova caught a break and won the eighth outright to receive praise from her coach at the end of the game.
She climbed back within reach with a love service in the ninth but Svitolina quickly regained focus on serve to close out the Russian in 40 minutes. Despite having 13 winners, the 16 unforced errors Kuznetsova committed negated her late comeback to give Svitolina the first set comfortably.
The second set ran only one way. Svitolina went on from the third, taking the next four straight with the double break in hand. Kuznetsova found a way to secure a service hold in the seventh, but with the ball back in the Ukranian's hands, she delivered a big shutout in the eighth, gaining three match points, with a line drive taking care of business in 1 hour and 18 minutes.