?? Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, SF Preview
?? (1) Elina Svitolina vs ?? (6) Angelique Kerber
A blockbuster semi-final at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships sees the top seed and defending champion: Elina Svitolina, take on the in-form player on the tour right now: Angelique Kerber. This will be the second time in as many years these two have gone head-to-head at the semi-final stage in Dubai. This has been a very successful match-up for Svitolina in recent times, the Ukrainian has won the last 4 matches between the pair, 3 of those victories were in straight sets. Nevertheless, it is Kerber who has been more impressive in 2018, can the resurgent German avenge her recent defeats at the hands of Svitolina?
Whilst Svitolina has not necessarily been at her best in 2018, she still has a very positive 12/2 win/loss record thus far. Svitolina started her title defense in Dubai with a scrappy 3 set victory over Qiang Wang after receiving a bye through the opening round. The top seed confirmed her spot in the semi-finals by navigating her way past the dangerous Naomi Osaka 6-2 6-4. Svitolina’s consistency was too much for a wayward Osaka to handle, Svitolina will face a much tougher test in the next round as she takes on a red-hot Angelique Kerber, the German will not give Svitolina gifts like Osaka did in the previous round.
Angelique Kerber has won more matches than any other player in 2018, amassing a very impressive 19/2 win/loss record. Kerber has breezed through to the semi-finals in Dubai without dropping a set, claiming victories over Barbora Strycova, Sara Errani and Karolina Pliskova. Kerber confirmed her spot in the semi-finals with a 6-4 6-3 demolition of Karolina Pliskova. It was a near-flawless performance by Kerber who did not face 1 break point all match.
It is Svitolina who heads into this match with a 6-5 head-to-head record over the German. Svitolina has won the last 4 matches between the two and 6 of the last 9. The pair met on 3 occasions last year, Svitolina beat Kerber in 3 sets in Brisbane, straight sets in Dubai and 6-4 6-2 on clay in a Fed Cup tie in what was their most recent encounter.