Third seed Elina Svitolina won her sixth straight final dating back to last year with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over a tired Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the Brisbane International final. Sasnovich was the first qualifier to reach the final and all the wear and tear of a very long week showed.
The Ukranian was making her first appearance in the championship match of the event after having been stopped in the semifinals two of the previous three years and she never looked threatened in claiming her tenth career title.
Svitolina on top from the start
Svitolina was on the front foot from the beginning, a quick hold followed by an early break, donated to her by a Sasnovich double-fault and a pair of backhand unforced errors, gave her a 2-0 lead.
Appearing to be weary from all the tennis she played this week, the Belarussian was again quickly behind as she stared down a 0-40 hole. Her serve and backhand brought her back to eventually hold, but it did little to stop Svitolina.
With an improved serve, the Ukranian was holding with ease and she was ahead 5-2 when two set points came her way on the Sasnovich serve. After missing out on the first one, a backhand winner down the line gave her the opening set.
Ukranian sails to the title
The start of the second set was a carbon copy of the first. Svitolina held easily and pressured Sasnovich in her opening service game. The Ukranian's outstanding defense and penetrating returns, including one on her second break point gave her a 2-0 lead.
After finding trouble on her serve for the first time in the match, from 40-15 up to deuce, the world number six fired an ace en route to a hold and any small hance of a comeback by the Belarussian was snuffed out when she dumped serve in easy fashion.
Finally, the world number 88 was able to stop the rot, if only temporarily with a hold after saving a match point with an ace, but it only delayed the inevitable as Svitolina served out the championship to love, claiming the title in just over an hour.
Svitolina's win has made her the clear favorite to win the Australian Open and although the Ukranian has never advanced to as much as a major semifinal, she has collected six titles in the last year and along with a more powerful game, especially on serve it's only a matter of time before her breakthrough comes.
Sasnovich was simply out of gas in the final. Playing her eighth match of the week, the Belarussian was outclassed in every phase, but she'll move up to 54th in the latest rankings on Monday. Not short of power herself and with some momentum from leading Belarus to the Fed Cup final, we'll be hearing more from the talented 23-year old in the future.