Perhaps because she has not reached the final four of a major, Elina Svitolina is flying under the radar, even among tennis fans.
On Sunday in Toronto, Svitolina remained perfect in finals on the year and further entrenched herself as an elite player in the current landscape with a 6-4, 6-0 win in the Rogers Cup final over Caroline Wozniacki.
To win the tournament, she went through a gauntlet, beating Dasha Kasatkina and four top 10 players in Venus Williams, Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep and Wozniacki. In addition, her quarterfinal was suspended on Friday with Muguruza a set up, so she had to win four sets over two matches on Saturday.
The trophy marks the Ukranian’s fifth of the year and third at the Premier 5 level, where she is 15-0 on the season. She also claimed Dubai over Wozniacki, and Rome, which was impacted by Simona Halep rolling her ankle in the final.
Entering the final, not only was Svitolina unblemished in finals in 2017, Wozniacki was the exact opposite (0-5), which some would argue influenced the match going from an even affair at four games apiece into a runaway that saw Svitolina win the final eight games. In seesaw games that often went to deuce after long rallies on either player’s serve, it was Svitolina’s ability to better rebound from the ebbs and flows of the match (as well as Wozniacki’s troubles at the net) that proved pivotal.
With her latest title, the ninth of her young career, Svitolina has checked most marks before turning 23, except for putting herself in position to become a Grand Slam champion. Despite leading the WTA points race, she is likely best known for crumbling after holding match point against Simona Halep in the French Open quarterfinals.
The combination of that hole in Svitolina’s resume (likely already top 75-80 in the Open Era) and the fact that the US Open is the final major of the year will make her arguably the most intriguing player in the Big Apple.