11.03.2017
It was a tight opening match for Elina at the first WTA Premier Mandatory-level event of the season. She needed 2 hours and 38 minutes to beat Qiang Wang of China: 3-6 6-3 7-6(3). 

In the first set Elina was in a 3-1 lead, but lost her advantage and the next five games in a row. In the second set Elina was 4-0 up with two breaks. Wang Qiang was able to close the gap to a minimum. Finally Elina took another game on her opponent's serve to force the match into a decider. 

Both opponents made three breaks in the deciding set. Elina led 4-2, but the Chinese leveled the score and went ahead, however Elina managed to hold her serve in the tenth game. She even won the next game to serve out the match but was broken once again, so the winner of this match was decided only on a tie-break. 

- I hope the crowd enjoyed our match, because we both played well, we both fought, - Elina said in her on-court interview. - It was tough obviously, because the coinditions here are never easy. Right now I just want to enjoy this moment that I was able to win this match. How does it feel to play as the World No. 10? I don't feel any different (laughs). I guess I still don't understand for 100% what I've achieved, especially for my country. It was just amazing to win two titles in a row. 

In the third round, Elina will play with Daria Gavrilova, who has beaten Janina Wickmayer in straight sets. Svitolina and Gavrilova have already met on the court this year: Elina was stronger in their Fed Cup clash in Kharkiv (6-3 6-2).
Photo: Christopher Levy