Svitolina races past Kasatkina to retain Dubai title

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Top seed Elina Svitolina became the third woman to defend the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title on Saturday, defeating Russia’s Daria Kasatkina 6-4 6-0 in the final.

World number four Svitolina, who had won both her previous meetings against Kasatkina, dominated the early phase and went on to record a break of serve in the fifth game.

Kasatkina, ranked 24 in the world, saved three set points but was inconsistent with her groundstrokes as Svitolina wrapped up the opening set in the 10th game.

The 23-year-old Ukrainian made the most of the momentum and produced a spotless display in the second set, recording three more breaks of serve and 18 winners to claim the victory in an hour and 10 minutes.

The victory puts Svitolina in the company of Justine Henin and Venus Willliams as the third women’s player to win successive Dubai titles.

“It’s amazing... coming back and playing as defending champion,” Svitolina said.

“I was just trying to hit the ball in the court and was happy with how I handled the pressure throughout the week.

“Congrats to Daria for her performance. We will definitely see her winning more this year.”

It was an evening to forget for the 20-year-old Kasatkina, who committed 34 unforced errors, but her victories over world number three Garbine Muguruza and Johanna Konta this week reflected her remarkable progress on the WTA Tour this season.

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