DUBAI, UAE - Elina Svitolina's mastery over Angelique Kerber continued on Friday, as the top seed and defending champion returned to the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with a 6-3, 6-3 semifinal victory.
The World No.4 extended her head-to-head against the two-time Grand Slam champion to 5-0, with four victories coming in straight sets.
"I'm happy that it was in two sets because before we had such a tough battles. Physically, it was very tough," Svitolina said after the match. "I was really pleased the way I was playing the tough moments. There were one, two points that decided the first set, and the second set, also [where I] came back into the match.
"There was couple of points that I was really happy the way I handle it."
"Every match starts from zero. I know I can win against her, as well. I won against her before," Kerber said in defeat. "I was trying to find my rhythm, but especially in my serve, I couldn't find it. I think just today I was not playing my best. She played good at the end."
Svitolina came from a break down in the second set, as she won four straight games from 2-1 down to take control of the second set.
The Ukrainian was the first to settle down in the opening set, as she posted an easy hold in the sixth game to stop a string of five straight breaks to begin the match.
"I was actually practicing with her in Doha the first day I arrived. I felt she's back into the game," Svitolina said of Kerber, who's made her return to the Top 10 this year.
"She strikes the ball well. I always played against her when she was playing good tennis. Last time we played, it was in Germany when she was extremely motivated to bring a point to the team. It was a massive fight from both of us."
The top seed will next face Daria Kasatkina with her second title at the Premier-level stop on the line, after the Russian enjoyed a contrasting semifinal victory over No.2 seed Garbiñe Muguruza.
The Russian saved match points in the second set en route to a 3-6, 7-6(11), 6-1 victory.
"She had tough road to the final. I will just try to focus on my game as I did before. She produced a good game," Svitolina assessed.
"I will try to be ready and just take next opponent on. I don't look any different because this is one more final, one more chance to win the title, one more chance to learn something. For me it's very important just to go out there and give 100%, then see how it goes."