WTA Kuala Lumpur: Elina Svitolina Overcomes Eugenie Bouchard In An Incredible Match For Her Fourth Title

WTA Kuala Lumpur: Elina Svitolina Overcomes Eugenie Bouchard In An Incredible Match For Her Fourth Title

Even the various rain delays could not mar a match of high quality from both players at the BMW Malaysian Open finals. Elina Svitolina triumphs for her first title in 2016 with a 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-5 win.

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Pavitra Ganesan

It was a final showdown between the second seed, Elina Svitolina and sixth seed, Eugenie Bouchard. Svitolina heads the encounter 3-0 while Bouchard was looking for her second WTA title. 

And it was high quality tennis from the get go as Bouchard edged to take the first set in a tiebreak. The Ukrainian came firing back to draw level. The third set was disrupted by two long rain delays but it was not stopping Svitolina from emerging as the winner in a match that ended after midnight. 

Bouchard Prevails In A Tight First Set Taking It In A Tiebreak

The first game of the match was an indication of things to come. A game of long rallies and quality shots from both was setting up the tone for a good match. As the players continued to hold serve, it took five games before the first chance was created by Svitolina. Bouchard's drop in first serve percentage was working to the Ukrainian's advantage. The Canadian though, was standing tough saving break point after break point. However, Svitolina was finally rewarded with her persistent play as she found the breakthrough on her sixth opportunity in a 12-minute game. And she coolly consolidated it for a 4-2 lead.

Svitolina takes the lead but doesn't convert | Photo courtesy of: Stanley Chou/Getty Images
Svitolina takes the lead but doesn't convert | Photo courtesy of: Stanley Chou/Getty Images

Bouchard kept the match within reach and it was Svitolina who had to serve for the set. The pressure was now on Svitolina as a weak second serve handed Bouchard her first break point opportunity. The Canadian kept up with the pressure causing Svitolina to crack as Bouchard broke with excellent approach play leveling the set to five games all. As Svitolina served to stay in the set at 6-5, Bouchard was forcing the Ukrainian well back behind the baseline, but the second seed came up with a gutsy hold to bring the set to a tiebreak.

At 3-2 in the tiebreak with Svitolina to serve, play was forced to stop as it began to drizzle. After that short delay, it was Bouchard who was quickest off the blocks winning four straight points to give herself three set points. The Ukrainian held her nerve to hold her serves before Bouchard closed out the set on her own serve for a 7-6(5) win. 

Bouchard fires her way to take the first set | Photo courtesy of: Stanley Chou/Getty Images
Bouchard fires her way to take the first set | Photo courtesy of: Stanley Chou/Getty Images

Svitolina Shakes Off Her Mental Demons To Level The Match

Svitolina's coach tried to motivate her as she seemed to let the first set loss get to her head at the end of the first set. As Bouchard raced to a 2-0 lead, the Canadian looked in control of the match. Svitolina managed to shake off the poor start to get herself on board with a quick hold.

The Ukrainian then broke right back to love after a poor game from Bouchard. The Canadian though found her game as she was once again dictating rallies and handed another blow with clever shot making for a 3-2 lead. Svitolina was not going down without a fight and the Canadian had to give her all to extend her lead to 4-2. Both players were having chances on each other's games as Svitolina managed to level the score 4-4 with another break of serve. Serving to stay in the set at 5-4, Bouchard delivered a weak shot into the net presenting the second seed with set point. Svitolina grabbed it with aplomb to level the match. 

Svitolina levels the match | Photo courtesy of: Stanley Chou/Getty Images
Svitolina levels the match | Photo courtesy of: Stanley Chou/Getty Images

Bouchard called for a medical timeout appearing unwell and right on cue the clouds opened up once again. The players decided to wait out the small drizzle before the third set began.

Bouchard's Chance To Close Out Win Goes Begging As Svitolina Pounces

The third set was played to three points before the heavens opened up again and this time the players left the court as the match was suspended. Play resumed with Svitolina serving at 30-15. First three games went on serve without any concern. Bouchard though, splayed her forehand to hand the advantage to Svitolina who went 3-1 up. It was not for long as the Canadian broke right back. 

It was turning to be a frustrating final as once again the rain started to fall hard. This time the delay was much longer. Bouchard resumed play with a quick love hold for 3-3. The Canadian was seemingly in control of rallies but loses the points. In the crucial ninth game, with the score at 4-4, Bouchard set up break point with a volley winner and broke to go 5-4 in front. Except, Bouchard squandered the chance to seal the match as Svitolina broke to love. 

A frustrated Bouchard | Photo courtesy of: Mohd Rasfan
A frustrated Bouchard | Photo courtesy of: Mohd Rasfan

The match was coming to a dramatic finish as Svitolina eked out an important hold to put pressure back on  Bouchard at 6-5. The Canadian hit a wayward backhand gifting the Ukrainian with three championship points. The sixth seed can only save one and see her forehand fly long as Svitolina completed victory in an absorbing rain-delayed third set. The Ukrainian getting her fourth win over the Canadian and her fourth WTA title.

Ecstatic Svitolina after eventually closing the match | Photo courtesy of: Stanley Chou/Getty Images
Ecstatic Svitolina after eventually closing the match | Photo courtesy of: Stanley Chou/Getty Images

Winning Numbers For Svitolina

In a high octane match, both players were averaging more than 60 percent of their first serves. Svitolina though hit 5 double faults to Bouchard's one. 

The Ukrainian was able to conjure up more chances to break at 14 and taking seven of them. Whereas, Bouchard created nine opportunities and converted five of them.

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