Top-seeded Elina Svitolina takes on comeback queen Daria Kasatkina in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Alex Macpherson
February 24, 2018

CENTRE COURT (starts 5pm)
[4] HSIEH Su-Wei (TPE) / PENG Shuai (CHN) vs CHAN Hao-Ching (TPE) / YANG Zhaoxuan (CHN) 

Not before 7pm


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Elina Svitolina owns a 2-0 head-to-head record against Daria Kasatkina. Both of their previous encounters were on North American hard courts, and the Ukrainian was the victor 6-4, 5-7, 6-0 in the first round of New Haven in 2016 and 7-6(4), 6-4 the second round of Toronto in 2017.

Elina Svitolina, who beat Caroline Wozniacki in last year's final, is aiming to be the second player to defend a title in 2018 following Elise Mertens in Hobart. She is the fourth defending champion to progress to the title round again this year after Mertens, Katerina Siniakova in Shenzhen and Kristina Mladenovic in St. Petersburg. Svitolina is also bidding to become the first player to win back-to-back titles in Dubai since Venus Williams in 2009-10.

Daria Kasatkina has saved five match points in two separate matches en route to the final: two against Johanna Konta in the second round, and three against Garbiñe Muguruza in the semifinals. She is the second player this year to achieve that feat following Simona Halep at the Australian Open.

Elina Svitolina will be going for her 11th career title. The Ukrainian owns an impressive 10-2 record in finals, and has won six consecutive title matches since November 2016, when she lost the Zhuhai Elite Trophy final to Petra Kvitova. Svitolina also has a 2-0 record in finals as the No.1 seed - though today marks the first time she has reached the final as a tournament's top seed above International level.

All three of Daria Kasatkina's finals have come at Premier level, and this marks the Russian's first final on outdoor hard courts. The Russian, who is guaranteed to break the Top 20 for the first time next week, sealed her fifth career Top 5 win - all since the start of 2017 - with her semifinal victory over Garbiñe Muguruza, and will be going for her sixth against Svitolina in the final.

All four doubles finalists are competing in their first title match of the year. Peng Shuai is in her first doubles final since Dubai last year, when she was runner-up (alongside Andrea Sestini Hlavackova) to Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, and will be going for her 14th trophy alongside Hsieh Su-Wei (and first since they joined forces again this year). Chan Hao-Ching and Yang Zhaoxuan are aiming for their first title as a team. This is the second time Yang has faced Peng in a final following Nottingham 2016, when Peng and Sestini Hlavackova took the trophy over Yang and Gabriela Dabrowski.