ROME, Italy - No.8 seed Elina Svitolina moves into the final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia after Garbiñe Muguruza was forced to withdraw in the first set, trailing 4-1.
“I just want to wish a fast recovery to Garbiñe, she has such a big tournament ahead in Roland Garros which is very tough as she’s the defending champion,” Svitolina told the crowd at Centrale. “It’s going to be very tough for her and hopefully she will recover quickly.”
She’ll take on Simona Halep for a shot at the Rome crown as she bids to take home a WTA tour-leading fourth title of the year.
She’s also one win away from taking the top spot on the Porsche Race to Singapore.
“I'm a little bit surprised, and I still cannot really believe that it's really happening like this,” Svitolina reflected in press. “I have played so many finals already this year. Of course I work for it. But for me, you know, I didn't really expect this kind of thing.
“I just try to put my head down and don't really think about it, even though I play well and I need to expect this and I work every single day to make it happen.
“I'm very happy the way I'm playing now, and I will just keep going and don't really think about the ranking and what can happen and what cannot and stuff.”
Svitolina kicked off the match against Muguruza in complete control, outhitting the Spaniard to snap up the first six points in a row.
Muguruza’s normally solid groundstrokes were misfiring just enough to hand Svitolina a comfortable break of serve. Although Muguruza had chances to level the score, bringing up two break back points straight away, Svitolina kept her in check and consolidated.
But Muguruza called the trainer and after a lengthy discussion with the doctor, she found herself having to withdraw from the match citing a neck injury.
Later in press, Muguruza explained, “I think it's actually kind of weird, because I went to the warmup, and [my partner] started serving, big serves and stuff, and I was trying to return. And on the return, I hit it and then I'm, like, ‘Sam, I can't move my neck. So I couldn't really move my neck to [the right] side.
“But I'm, like, I'm going to go on the court. I'm going to try, maybe I can serve slower or something. I didn't want to leave Rome without giving a shot, you know.”