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By Chris Oddo | Thursday October 25, 2018

 
Svitolina

Elina Svitolina won a dramatic second set from Caroline Wozniacki and booked her spot in the semifinals at Singapore for the first time.

Photo Source: Matthew Stockman/Getty

The pressure was immense, and the stakes were high.

In the end it was Elina Svitolina who stayed the firmest and knocked the defending champion out of Singapore.

It could have been different.

Needing a Karolina Pliskova victory early on Thursday and a straight-sets win against Svitolina, defending champion Caroline Wozniacki had taken the opener from the Ukrainian in Thursday’s second semifinal, and appeared to be marching to a rousing victory that would have surely devastated Svitolina.

For moments during their tussle it looked as though Svitolina, who had words for the haters and doubters earlier in the week in Singapore, was crumbling under the pressure of her own desire to prove herself worthy on one of the game’s biggest stages.

She dropped a tight opener and struggled to stay on serve with Wozniacki in a second set that had all the tension and drama of a prestigious final.

Tennis Express

It was the ultimate test for a player that needed to prove that she could pass muster.

Full credit to Svitolina, who finally got over the finish line in the final game of the second set with a break of serve in a dramatic five-deuce game that could have crushed her had she not won it.

Serving to force a second-set breaker, Wozniacki saved two set points from 15-40 then had a game point for 6-6. After saving a third set point the Dane had another game point but could not break through Svitolina’s wall.

Wozniacki saved a fourth set point with a forehand winner but sailed a backhand long on Svitolina’s fifth set point, which resulted in a hearty celebration despite the fact that the match had not ended.


It was a vital victory for Svitolina, who has struggled on tour in the second half of the season and had entered the WTA Finals as an afterthought.

With Wozniacki eliminated and playing for pride, Svitolina kept up the pressure and finished off her 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 victory to win the White Group.

She’ll face the No.2-ranked player in the Red Group in Saturday’s semifinals with a shot at the final. All four Red Group participants will compete for the final two spots on Friday in Singapore.

 

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