In just her seventh tournament at any level since her return from maternity leave, Elina Svitolina advanced to the final of the Internationaux de Strasbourg Friday with a come-from-behind semifinal victory over France's Clara Burel.
Svitolina, a champion in Strasbourg three years ago, rallied from 6-4, 4-1 down to beat France's Clara Burel 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in 2 hours and 20 minutes to set up a meeting Saturday with Anna Blinkova.
"I was just trying to fight in the second," Svitolina said afterwards. "It was not easy, Clara played a good match. ... In the end, the fighting sprit and playing aggressive really helped me win that set.
"In the third, I felt much better on the court. I was serving very good, returning well as well, so it was a solid third set for me and I'm happy with the win."
Turning point: Facing that deficit, Svitolina later denied Burel three chances for a 5-2 lead before breaking in the seventh game, and also held from 0-40 down to get even at 4-4. She, in fact, won four games in a row and served for the set at 5-4, but needed two chances to ultimately do so.
SVITOLINA SURVIVES 🙌— wta (@WTA) May 26, 2023
Former champion @ElinaSvitolina rallies from a set and 1-4 down to outlast Burel in a thrilling encounter to reach her first final since August of 2021!#IS23 pic.twitter.com/DIMaqae6Cl
Wildcard winners: Svitolina seeks to be the fifth wildcard in tournament history to win the title. She hopes to join Angelique Kerber (2022), Samantha Stosur (2017 and 2015), Maria Sharapova (2010) and Stefanie Graf (1997).
Blinkova rolls into second career final
Blinkova beat American Lauren Davis 6-2, 6-2 in the other semifinal to reach her first career WTA clay-court final.
No.7 seed Davis, who saved two match points in a thrilling win against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova yesterday. was the only seed to reach the final four, and one of three to reach the quarterfinals.
But Blinkova rolled against her in 73 minutes, breaking the American's serve
"I'm really happy to win this match," Blinkova said. "I think I did a good job and I was really focused, point-by-point. I tried to be as aggressive as I can, I tried to make her move and come to the net to finish the points as much as I could.
"It was difficult to stay calm, as I had all the thoughts about the final and winning, but I was happy to overcome all of these thoughts."
Blinkova is bidding for her second career WTA singles title, having won her first last fall indoors on hard courts in Cluj-Napoca.
She and Svitolina have never played.