Dubai 2018: Svitolina brings end to bold Kasatkina's run to defend title

Elina Svitolina has joined Venus Williams and Justine Henin in winning back-to-back Dubai crowns

Eyeing her second title in 2018 following her success at the Brisbane International, Svitolina is to take on either third-seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic or former World No. 1 Angelique Kerber of Germany for a place in the final.

"It's awesome to win here again", 23-year-old Svitolina said after her victory.

The 20-year-old Russian recorded a 3-6, 7-6 (11), 6-1 win over Muguruza and will face top-seeded Elina Svitolina in the final.

The victory puts Svitolina in the company of Justine Henin and Venus Willliams as the third women's player to win successive Dubai titles. There were one, two points that decided the first set, and the second set, also [where I] came back into the match.

"I was just trying to hit the ball onto the court and make her run today". It was solid performance, I would say.

The 23-year-old Ukrainian hammered her 20-year-old Russian opponent 6-4, 6-0 in 70 minutes to lead their head-to-head meetings 2-0.

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Kasatkina, the youngest Dubai finalist since 2010, deserved every praise for the way she fought back from the most hopeless positions in the tournament, saving three match points against Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza in the semifinal and two match points against British seventh seeded Johanna Konta in the 179-minute round of 16 match - the fifth longest match of the tournament since 2008.

"The best thing about it is you don't have to think at all", Kasatkina said after the match. "At the end, I'm very happy with how I played, with this whole week, actually". "There was couple of points that I was really happy the way I handle it". I always played against her when she was playing good tennis. I did good at important moments.

Yet another double-fault gifted another break to Svitolina, who still could not find her range on her vulnerable second serves which implied that she failed to consolidate the break yet again. "When I had to play well, I played well".

Between sets, Kasatkina's coach Philippe Dehaes paid a visit to his player giving her one special pep talk.

All four doubles finalists are competing in their first title match of the year. Svitolina also has a 2-0 record in finals as the No.1 seed - though today marks the first time she has reached the final as a tournament's top seed above global level. When you're on the court, adrenaline is coming, and you just forget about it. "I think that was at the end the key". "I think we do well as a pair".

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