SAN JOSE, CA, USA - Top seed Elina Svitolina got off to a winning start at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, taking down Daria Kasatkina in straight sets to book a place in the quarterfinals.
Svitolina was contesting her first match since Wimbledon, where she enjoyed a historic fortnight becoming the first Ukrainian woman to reach a Grand Slam semifinal.
She was right back to her winning ways in her San Jose debut, needing two sets to take down Kasatkina, 6-3, 6-1 and extending her dominance over their rivalry to five wins to none.
“I think I played quite a solid match for my first match on hardcourts,” Svitolina said in her on-court interview. “We’re back on hardcourts, so I’m excited for all the matches here and overall this part of the season.”
Svitolina had to find her way after a shaky start to the match, coming back from 0-2 down as she struggled to stay on par with Kasatkina and struggled to find her first serves.
But as the set unfolded Svitolina seemed to find her rhythm, putting the Russian firmly under pressure. Svitolina muscled her way to a break at 4-3, and backed it up with a hold to love and a final break to take the opening set.
Growing in confidence, Svitolina tracked down everything Kasatkina sent her way, denying her four break points in total during the second set. Instead, it was Svitolina who took the lead at 3-1, and another break later on at 5-1 sealed the victory.
“I just try to fight for every point,” Svitolina explained. “I don’t really think so much about what’s happening on the other side of the net. She’s a very tricky player, she has good hands, and she always puts up a fight.
“I had to really fight for every point, and in the end I think I was more solid today.”
Up next, the Ukranian will face Maria Sakkari as she seeks to make her fifth semifinal run of the year. The No.7-seeded Greek player had to come back from a set down against qualifier Mayo Hibi earlier in the day to advance, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
“I’m always trying to put my best forward when I go on court,” she said. “It’s a big honor to play here… the atmosphere is very nice. I’m looking forward to my next round.”