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Elina Svitolina fends off compatriot Anhelina Kalinina in Dubai opener

February 20, 2024 09:36 AM

Dubai : The No.15 seed Elina Svitolina defeated a fellow Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Svitolina defeated 32nd-ranked Anhelina Kalinina 6-3, 7-6(7) to advance to the second round in Dubai. Svitolina had to save three set points in the second set to seal the one-hour and 40-minute triumph.

Svitolina cruised through the opening set, striking 14 winners to only five unforced errors. These 14 winners included five of her seven aces for the day.

However, things got considerably rougher in the second set, as Kalinina's winning forehand putaway handed the unseeded woman double set point at 5-4. Svitolina fought her way out of that situation, and the set finally went to a tiebreaker.

"It's a great tournament here. I'm really happy to be back in the city, back on the center court. Have so many great memories. Brings back, really, joy for me," Svitolina said afterwards as quoted by WTA.

In the tiebreaker, Kalinina led 5-3 before Svitolina stormed to her first match point at 6-5. Kalinina remained firm and saved her third set point at 7-6, but three straight wins from there allowed Svitolina to finish a difficult second set and advance to the second round.

Svitolina will face 54th-ranked Tatjana Maria in the second round on Tuesday. Maria, the top-ranked German on tour, defeated France's Varvara Gracheva 6-2, 6-1 on Sunday.

Svitolina and Maria have split their six professional matches equally, although they haven't met since Svitolina defeated Maria in straight sets at the 2018 US Open.

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