Elina Svitolina of Ukraine celebrates during her final match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus at the Brisbane International Tennis Tournament in Brisbane, Saturday, January 6, 2018. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Elina Svitolina of Ukraine celebrates during her final match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus at the Brisbane International Tennis Tournament in Brisbane, Saturday, January 6, 2018. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Svitolina smashes her way to Brisbane International title

ELINA Svitolina claimed the Brisbane International women's title with a dominant display against qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

The Ukrainian No. 3 seed proved too big a challenge for Sasnovich of Belarus, who had claimed some major scalps through the tournament despite being ranked 88th in the world.

Svitolina easily won their final on Pat Rafter Arena 6-2, 6-1 in just 65 minutes to claim her 10th career title, with five of those coming in a standout 2017 season.

Having not left Queensland Tennis Centre until after midnight following her impressive semi-final victory over No. 2 seed and defending champion Karolina Pliskova on Friday evening, Svitolina said she had to disguise her fatigue in the final.

"I'm relieved that everything is finished because I didn't have much time to recover after yesterday and I slept very, very bad," Svitolina said.

"Hopefully you didn't see this, hopefully I am a good actor.

"It was really important to stay focused on my game plan and everything pretty much worked well."

 

Svitolina won in just 65 minutes.
Svitolina won in just 65 minutes.

 

Sasnovich recovered somewhat from a shaky start, fighting back from 0-3 and three break points down to eventually hold serve for 1-3 and again for 2-4.

But Svitolina just poured more pressure on, breaking Sasnovich again to convert her second set point with a classy backhand winner.

Sasnovich never really settled into the match, despite successfully negotiating qualifying and then cutting a swath through the main draw.

The 23-year-old Minsk native knocked No. 6 seed Kristina Mladenovic out in the first round and defeated last year's runner-up Alize Cornet, ranked 50 places higher, in the quarter-finals.

She beat seventh seed Anastasija Sevastova in the semis to become the first qualifier in the event's history to reach the final.

In doing so, she will raise her ranking into the top 60, but that counted for little.

Her second set against Svitolina was even tougher than the first, with the eventual champion ruthlessly jumping out to a 5-0 lead.

 

Sasnovich looked off the pace against her more fancied opponent.
Sasnovich looked off the pace against her more fancied opponent.

Svitolina held championship point when Sasnovich sent down an ace, which survived a challenge.

While Sasnovich went on to hold, she simply delayed the inevitable with Svitolina comfortably taking the next game, claiming the trophy with an unreturnable serve.

Svitolina's world ranking is projected to move from sixth to No. 4 on the back of her performance in Brisbane this week.

Sasnovich apologised for her performance in the final, even though winning an eighth straight match at the tournament was a huge ask.

"Sorry for my play today," she said.

"It was tough. Elina was playing very good, but I can play much better.

"Of course, (I was) tired. But I tried not to think about it too much. I just tried to relax a little. Everyone understands that it's a lot of matches, I understand it's a lot of matches. The body is tired, but I try not to think about it."

She will head to Melbourne on Monday for the Australian Open after her continued success in Brisbane forced her to pull out of qualifying for the Sydney International.

"I have time to prepare for the Australian Open and I hope to be ready mentally, physically, yeah, to be good there," Sasnovich said.



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