Elina Svitolina has won the WTA 250 Internationaux de Strasbourg tournament, clinching her 17th career title and the first one after coming back to competition after the maternity break. Svitolina prevailed in a role of a slight pre-match favorite in the final against Anna Blinkova, continuing her super effective series of final appearances, as it was 17th win in 20 finals approached by the Ukrainian in whole the career on WTA level.
Road to the final
Svitolina was awarded with a wild-card to compete in Strasbourg and stormed through the draw with a style, losing just one set on the road to final. The Ukrainian has needed to fight hard for the spot in the final during a tough semis clash against Clara Burel. The French, who was the best home representative in this tournament, has already made a big upset on 5th seeded Sorana Cirstea in the opening round, and eliminated 4th seed Bernarda Pera in the quarters. Burel won the opening set against Svitolina on Friday and was on the straight way to the final while leading 4-1 in second set. This was just a single break advantage though, and Svitolina did not give up, as she broke her opponent 3 times in a row and force the decider. The third set between Svitolina and Burel was also tight until the score 3-3, but the Ukrainian dominated the last 3 games and moved into the final with a score 4-6 7-5 6-3.
Anna Blinkova was Svitolina's opponent in today's final. The Russian has also played well this week, conceding just one set in the opening round against the local player Amandine Hesse. Blinkova has defeated Anna Lena Friedsam, Emma Navarro and 7th seed Lauren Davis in straight sets to secure the final spot in convincing way.
One-sided title clash
The Saturday's final was quite a one way traffic contest, as Svitolina was on the throttle from the start and started both sets from winning 3 games in a row, building double break advantage at once. Blinkova was trying to make up the gap in both sets, especially in the second set, where she broke Svitolina twice in a row. After quite an erratic performance from both sides, it was Svitolina who has controlled the turn of events in this match from start to finish and won it 6-2 6-3 eventually.
Both the finalists capitalize on their good run in Strasbourg, which lift them up in the WTA rankings. Blinkova gains 10 places to move up into 56th spot, just 2 away from her career's peak. Svitolina made a huge step on the way to come back into the top area of rankings. The Ukrainian has scored 367 points so far after coming back on courts less than 2 months ago. This gives her the 191th place on Monday's ranking. Svitolina is still entitled to use protected ranking in some tournaments, entering the upcoming Roland Garros for instance. The former world's number 3 sets up an intriguing match against Martina Trevisan, which will be one of the matches not to skip in the opening round of the clay Grand Slam.