Dubai QF: CoCo Vandeweghe vs Elina Svitolina
Elina Svitolina has made a positive start to her Dubai campaign in her first tournament with Justine Henin by her side. The Ukrainian recorded her 5th victory over a top 10 opponent on Wednesday as she beat Garbine Muguruza in straight sets to set up a quarter-final showdown with CoCo Vandeweghe.
CoCo Vandeweghe arrived in Dubai without a win to her name in season 2016 (in singles). Vandeweghe looks to be recapturing her form, recording impressive wins over Karolina Pliskova and Kristina Mladenovic to advance to her first quarter-final since Wuhan last year. Vandeweghe ousted the 2015 runner-up in the first round with a 7-6 6-1 triumph before winning a late night clash against Mladenovic 7-5 3-6 6-4. It might be tough for Vandeweghe to recover from 2 consecutive late night matches, Svitolina will make life tough for the American.
Elina Svitolina is one of the highest ranked players left in the draw in Dubai and has a great opportunity to claim the biggest title of her career in her first tournament with Justine Henin part of her team. The Ukrainian started the week with a convincing 6-3 6-1 win over Jana Cepelova before defeating a wayward Garbine Muguruza 7-6 6-1. It wasn’t Svitolina’s best performance, Elina finished the match with 8 winners and 28 unforced errors but her fight and determination to win was certainly greater than Garbine’s and she was rewarded with the victory.
These two met in the first round in Dubai last year but the match only lasted 4 games before CoCo Vandeweghe was forced to retire injured. I believe Svitolina will once again emerge victorious on this occasion. Svitolina is the type of player that very rarely losses to players that she should beat on paper. CoCo Vandeweghe is likely to struggle to recover from her late night match against Mladenovic and is unlikely to be able to hit through the dogged defense of Svitolina consistently enough. The Ukrainian should get the win here.