Elina Svitolina’s Superb Year Earns Maiden WTA Finals Spot

Elina Svitolina
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For the first time in her blossoming career, Elina Svitolina has qualified for the WTA Finals in Singapore. The Ukrainian joins Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, Venus Williams and Garbine Muguruza as the official names on the event’s roster.

A place in Singapore is no less than Svitolina deserves after a stellar 2017 season that has seen her win five WTA titles. After notching up a single trophy over each of the past four seasons, 2017 was a breakthrough year.
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How Elina Svitolina qualified for the WTA Finals

Elina Svitolina began the year as the 14th best player in the world but a win over world #1 Angelique Kerber in her opening tournament in Brisbane marked a statement of intent for the season. After exiting the Australian Open in the third round, the 23-year-old found her groove.

A run of 15 straight victories including a title in Tashkent and a Premier 5 event in Dubai propelled her into the top ten for the first time. By the middle of April, Svitolina had already notched up three victories over Kerber, the world #1 at the time.
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The transition from hard to clay court was flawless. A third title of the year came at the Istanbul Cup before a second Premier 5 trophy landed in her lap. She won the title in Rome defeating three WTA Finals rivals in consecutive matches; Pliskova, Muguruza and Halep.

After a quiet grass court season, Svitolina lit up the hard courts of Montreal. Not only did she defeat Muguruza and Halep once again but she also eliminated Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki on her way to a third Premier 5 title and fifth of the year.
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If there is one blotch on her 2017 scorecard it is her Grand Slam performances. While reaching at least the third round of every Slam she did not go further than the quarter-final. A couple of deeper runs and she would be in contention for the world #1 spot.

Who is joining Elina Svitolina at the WTA Finals?

Despite it being her maiden WTA Finals appearance, Elina Svitolina will have a strong chance of winning it. Her record against the other players in attendance is impressive. She boasts a 4-3 winning record over world #1 Muguruza. Furthermore she has never lost to Wozniacki (who will be in Singapore after last weeks Tokyo triumph) in three meetings. In fact, her only negative head-to-head is against Pliskova, with Svitolina winning their most recent encounter.
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With five names officially confirmed and Caroline Wozniacki mathematically qualified that leaves just two spots remaining. It looks like, barring a late run from someone, Svitolina will be joined by another couple of debutants in Johanna Konta and Jelena Ostapenko. Against Konta the Ukranian is 2-0 while she lost her only meeting against Ostapenko at Wimbledon this year.

While the major prizes may have gone elsewhere, Svitolina’s haul of trophies marks 2017 out as a special year. A maiden WTA Finals appearance may be a landmark moment for the Ukrainian, but the title in Singapore might just be the icing on the cake.

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