Sara Errani vs Elina Svitolina, Dubai SF Preview

Dubai SF #1: Sara Errani vs Elina Svitolina

The first semi-final of the day at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships promises to be an extremely hard-fought affair when two of the fiercest competitors on tour go head-to-head, Sara Errani and Elina Svitolina. This is a massive opportunity for both, Sara has not reached a premier level final since early 2014 whilst Svitolina will be aiming to reach her first premier level final after several semi-final appearances at the premier level. It will be interesting to see who makes the most of this great opportunity to advance to the final in Dubai. 


Sara Errani has made the most a relatively favourable draw to advance to the semi-final stage in Dubai. The Italian defeated a pair of qualifiers in her opening matches, recording a straight set win over Saisai Zheng in the first round before claiming a surprisingly comfortable straight win over Yaroslava Shvedova. Errani’s biggest struggle came at the quarter-final stage where the Italian battled past Madison Brengle 4-6 6-1 6-4. Errani looked down and out in the deciding set when she trailed 1-4 and was seemingly struggling physically. However, Errani is nothing if not a fighter and as is expected the Italian did not give up and ultimately won the last 5 games of the match to advance to the final four.

Elina Svitolina is through to another premier level semi-final, a great result for the Ukrainian who is playing in her first tournament under the guidance of Justine Henin. Svitolina was far too good for Jana Cepelova in the first round before recording her fifth top 10 victory by defeating Garbine Muguruza in straight sets. Svitolina’s passage through to the semi-finals was confirmed on Thursday courtesy of a 6-4 1-6 6-2 win over CoCo Vandeweghe. Svitolina lost her way through the middle stages of the match but managed to find a better level of tennis when it mattered most to win the last 6 games of the match against a fading CoCo Vandeweghe who seemed to run out of energy. 


Sara Errani won the only previous encounter between the pair, a 6-2 6-3 win on an indoor hard court in Paris back in 2014. These two are extremely evenly matched, both have similar strengths and weaknesses and both will head into this match believing that they should win this. 

I’m going to give the slight edge to Errani heading into this match. On paper, it looks like Svitolina has had a good week but on closer inspection the truth is that she has benefited from her opponents playing very poor tennis. Svitolina has hit a combined 29 winners and 90 unforced errors in her first 3 matches, that kind of form isn’t going to get the job done against a determined Errani. The Italian loves to grind out victories against opponents like Svitolina who is unlikely to hit Errani off the court. I expect Errani to be too strong for Svitolina on this occasion.

Prediction: Sara Errani to defeat Elina Svitolina in 3 sets


0 responses to “Sara Errani vs Elina Svitolina, Dubai SF Preview”

  1. The H2H is 1-0 (2014) in favour of Errani. However, this information is unreliable since Elina is a totally different player after 2015.

    Secondly, Errani played single and doubles. The doubles match finished in the late night. I really doubt she could recover on time even with the ice bath. She looked exhausted in the doubles and also towards the 3rd set of the single match.

    Thirdly, Errani struggled through the QF. Brengle gifted the 3rd set when she was leading the momentum. Elina won’t give this chance to Errani.

    I would say Elina in 2 or 3.

    • Yes I agree that it may be tough for Errani to recover but she is has a great fitness level and I’m sure she will be ready for this match… she wouldn’t play doubles if she thought she couldn’t recover for singles

    • Yes Brengle may have helped Errani out but Elina was also helped out by Vandeweghe and by Muguruza in the previous match

  2. This is competition and money. Nobody will help anyone.

    Some credits must give to Svitolina because she was able to hold up Vandawegh and Muguruza. Similarly, These credits also must give to Errani.

    It is about money and Errani wants it. She might underestimate the situation like Petkovic (i.e. she claimed to feel very tired during the match when her coach talked to her). It will haunt Errani and she won’t be able to sustain 3 setters. Even she is fit to play, Svitolina will still beat her.

    • I didn’t mean purposely help, I just meant that Svitolina hasn’t actually been playing that well this week, her opponents have played generally very poorly and given her a lot of free points (which Errani will not do).

      Svitolina seems like the obvious pick but Errani rarely loses in matches like this, we will see

  3. Errani is unlikely to hit Svitolina off the court either. The Ukrainian was sure helped by the poor hitting of Murguruza and Vandeweghe, but credit to her by being able to absord everything and waiting for the mistake. She battled some tough point yesterday. Coco was clearly the one who was deciding who’s gonna win. I watched the entire game and when Coco was up 2-0 in the decider, I thought it was over for Elina. But even though she was overpowered all over the court by Coco, she managed to refocuse herself and bring as many ball back as she could. She did some ridiculous shot in the process.
    Coco’s game plan was the same all game long and she eventually did run out of gass trying to force Svitolina off the court.
    Svitolina’s fighting spirit and mental toughness is something to watch.
    Up against Errani, its going to be a long and tough battle. Drop shot and tricky shot will be at their prime !

    • Yes I agree that credit has to go to Svitolina, who is partly to blame for all of her opponents errors. Yes, this is going a VERY different match for Svitolina because this time she will not be given many unforced errors and will need to be the aggressive player (which is not her nature) It is going to be an interesting match that’s for sure

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