For the second time this year Elina Svitolina defeated Angelique Kerber. In the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships semifinals she stunned the top-seed German in 1 hour and 40 minutes: 6-3 7-6 (3).
Kerber was able to level the score after Elina took a 3-1 lead in the opener, but afterwards she won three more games in a row to take the first set. Elina got well out of the blocks in the second set, making an early break and keeping her advantage until the eighth game. Kerber went from 2-5 down to 5-all and even had a chance to serve out the set.
However, she failed to take the match into a decider. Elina played solid and let her opponent to win only three points in a second set tie-break.
- It was a very tough match, especially in the end, - Elina said in her on-court interview. - We had a rain delay, Angelique took a medical timeout, then we played again, so it was in and out all the time. Yes, it was hard, I was just trying to hit the ball and move my legs, fight for it and think positively during the tie-break. When I earned a matchpoint and on a challenge we saw it was in, it was such a relief, because it slightly touched the line, so I was a little bit lucky in the end.
With this third consecutive win over Kerber Elina levels her career head-to-head meetings with the German (5-5). Elina also shared her thoughts on the upcoming final against Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark. Last year in Miami they met on the court for the first time and Elina clinched a 5-7 6-4 7-6 win in a stubborn match.
- I'm playing well for... 11 matches already (laughs), so I will try to do the same in the final, try to focus on my game. I remember that we played our only match with Caroline in Miami and it was very, very late, I guess, it was the last match of the night session. It was a long and difficult fight. I will talk to my team, what's important for me in the final. In any case, the main thing is to play my game. I hope I will recover for the final.