Svitolina takes title in Istanbul

Ukraine's world number 13 Elina Svitolina beat Belgium's Elise Mertens 6-2, 6-4 in Istanbul on Sunday to clinch her third title of the season.

The top seed lost just one set in the whole tournament as she powered her way to the title to add the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup to titles in Taipei and Dubai.

In the final, the 22-year old was too strong for her younger opponent, racing into a 5-0 lead before overcoming a brief spell of resistance from Mertens with a third break in the eighth game.

The second set was a similar affair, Svitolina going 4-1 up, before a three game rally from the Belgian saw her level proceedings at 4-4. The Ukrainian then dug deep to clinch the win.

Speaking after the win, Svitolina said, “I was trying to take it match by match, and have it in my mind that I need to be 100% each match, because the girls are even more motivated to beat you when you’re the No.1 seed. There’s extra pressure on me as well, and so I had to put it all behind me and think only of myself. People expected me to win, so that’s tough, but it can also be good for your confidence.”

Svitolina’s win keeps her in the top 8 in the Race to Singapore, while for the 21-year-old Belgian, her second final after a win in Hobart in January will see her climb to a career-high 53 in the updated WTA rankings.

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