ISTANBUL, Turkey - No.1 seed Elina Svitolina and No.6 seed Elise Mertens have booked a clash for the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup after breezing past their semifinals in straight sets.
“I was a bit nervous,” Svitolina admitted in her post-match press conference. “You can get very nervous in semifinals because you are so close to playing the final, so close to getting the title.
“It’s always tricky, but I’m happy I could stay calm and confident with my game. I think I played a good game, from my side of the court.”
Svitolina took down Jana Cepelova in their hour and fourteen minute encounter, and was in good form throughout. She dropped serve just once in each set, but made up for it by keeping her opponent under pressure and earning a total of six breaks of her own.
She’ll take on Belgium’s Mertens in the final. It’ll be the pair’s first meeting.
“It’s the game of nerves more than anything else,” Svitolina joked. “We’ll see how it goes. It’ll be two players who will give everything. I expect a very tough match.
“It’s the last match, so I’m going to fight for everything and hopefully everything will go smoothly.”
Mertens completed an impressive upset over No.3 seed Irina-Camelia Begu, dropping just two games in the 6-1, 6-1 victory.
“Today I felt pretty comfortable on the Center Court,” Mertens explained in post-match press. “I felt mentally and physically strong. I felt my shots and I went for it.”
She even got a congratulations message from one of her heroes, countrywoman Kim Clijsters.
“She just sent me a message saying congrats! I have a good relationship with Kim. I see her at the club sometimes [Kim Clijsters Academy in Belgium], but of course she has three kids to take care of. But she does keep up a bit with my results.”