Malaysian Open SF: (2) (wc) Elina Svitolina vs (Q) Lin Zhu
Elina Svitolina’s quest for a fourth career title will continue on Saturday evening when she comes up against Chinese qualifier Lin Zhu at the semi-final stage in Kuala Lumpur. Svitolina has had a dream draw at the BMW Malaysian Open, the Ukrainian will not need to face an opponent ranked better than 133 in the world on route to the final.
Elina Svitolina started the week in style with a commanding straight set win over Miyu Kato but was surprisingly pushed to a third set by Risa Ozaki and Kristina Kucova in her next two matches. Svitolina made a particularly poor start to her quarter-final clash with Kristina Kucova but ultimately rallied the storm and recorded a comfortable 1-6 6-1 6-1 win to advance to the semi-finals. Svitolina hasn’t played particularly well in her last couple of matches but she hasn’t needed to.
Lin Zhu arrived in Kuala Lumpur fresh off a couple of losses at 25K ITF events, meaning her run to the semi-final stage via qualifying this week has been quite surprising. Zhu hasn’t dropped a set in the main draw, picking up straight set wins over Alexandra Panova, Zarina Diyas and Qiang Wang. Zhu will be making her first appearance at the semi-final stage of a WTA event on Saturday.
This is will be the first career meeting between Svitolina and Zhu. Svitolina is clearly a class above her opponent and should be good enough to record a victory here. Zhu has hit some good form in Kuala Lumpur but she hasn’t played any opponents that have really taken her out of her comfort zone. Svitolina will return well, extend the rallies and will ultimately be too strong in this match-up. This is great opportunity for Svitolina to reach another final and continue to build momentum after a relatively poor start to the season.