Watson, Svitolina Claim WTA Titles
Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
In the week’s WTA action, Elina Svitolina was triumphant in Kuala Lumpur and Heather Watson was successful in claiming the Monterrey title.
These were the last stops before the back to back Premier events in Indian Wells and Miami, two of the biggest tournaments outside of the four Grand Slams.
Svitolina captures Kuala Lumpur title
For the Ukrainian, this title win could serve as kick starter to her season. After going through the opening two months mostly out of form, Svitolina edged Eugenie Bouchard in a rain delayed final in Kuala Lumpur to claim her first title of the season.
The second seed let slip a break advantage in the opening set where she failed to serve it out. Bouchard rallied to take the tiebreaker 7-5.
Svitolina, who has never lost to the Canadian, found herself 4-2 behind in the second set but soon caught fire to win the next four games and level the match at one set all.
After another rain delay, Bouchard had the momentum and serve for the match at 5-4, but Svitolina did not give up. In a dramatic turn around, the 2nd seed broke back and then again to seal the match in the BMW Malaysian Open title (5)6-7, 6-4, 7-5.
“Thank you very much for staying that late to watch our final,” Svitolina said in her victory speech. “I want to thank Genie for a great final, it was a really tough one.”
“Hopefully I can come back next year!”
The Ukrainian had recently hired former world number one Justine Henin as a coach, and after making the semi finals in Dubai, they will now enjoy their first title together. Svitolina will also move to a career high ranking of 14 in the new WTA rankings.
For Bouchard it was a positive week and signs are there that she is returning to good form after a disastrous 2015.
Watson wins in Monterrey
Watson came from a set down to cap off a great week for British tennis as she claimed the Monterrey title.
The Brit claimed her third career title by outlasting Kirsten Flipkens 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 in just under two hours in Sunday’s final.
The Belgium had control of the opening set, taking it 6-3. Watson however was not done, and she rallied to find the form that brought her to the final to level the scores.
She carried the momentum into the third set where she took a 3-0 lead, but Flipkens came back to level it 3-3. Watson kept her composure and broke serve again before rounding off the victory for the title.
“I don’t know where to start,” the Brit said in her post-match interview.
“I’m extremely happy today. I was nervous coming into the match, and I’ve never beaten Kirsten before – she’s a great player who really makes you work for it.
“I thought Kirsten was pretty flawless in the first set, and I was getting frustrated with myself. I just had to stay calm and try my best. I never looked past the next point.”