HONG KONG - Top seed Elina Svitolina claimed the last spot in the second round of the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open, moving past Australian wildcard Priscilla Hon 6-2, 6-3.
The win also keeps alive Svitolina’s chances of a second appearance at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. Svitolina can qualify for Singapore if she lifts the trophy in Hong Kong, as long as the following two results go her way: Pliskova not reaching the final in Tianjin and Bertens not reaching the semifinal in Linz.
She took a big step in the right direction against Hon in Hong Kong, needing just over an hour and 10 minutes to notch the straight sets victory.
“There’s always a bit of pressure, being in a tournament and being the top seed,” Svitolina admitted in an interview afterwards. “But I’ve been in this situation many times, and for me it’s just another tournament that I can perform well in. I can show my best, play good matches - that’s why I’m here.”
Svitolina got ahead an early break to create a 3-1 lead, but Hon didn’t let her run away with it and she got the break straight back. But Svitolina stayed aggressive, covering the baseline and reeling off the next three games to close out the set.
Hon started off the second set with a break to record her first lead of the match at 1-0. But Svitolina didn’t let her hang onto it for long, grabbing it straight back and getting them back on even footing. The pair wrestled with the momentum until Svitolina finally earned the decisive break at 5-3, putting an end to the match.
“I’m definitely so happy that I finished in two sets and was able to break - that was really important,” Svitolina said. “It was really tough out there today, she was trying to play really aggressive from the baseline. It was so important to finish it in two sets.”
Up next in the second round, Svitolina will face qualifier Nao Hibino, who knocked out Sam Stosur in straight sets earlier in the day to win 6-3, 6-3.