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Svitolina wins 1st leg of Berlin exhibition

Svitolina wins 1st leg of Berlin exhibition
Elina Svitolina with the trophy after defeating Petra Kvitova Berlin exhibition match.
ERLIN, Jul 18 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 7/18/2020 9:49:28 AM IST

 BAfter rain washed out Wednesday’s final between Elina Svitolina and Petra Kvitova on Berlin’s grass courts, the non-WTA exhibition event in Germany moved to its second venue to close out the first phase of the competition. 

With play scheduled for the next three days on a temporary hard court at Berlin’s Tempelhof Hangar, the Ukrainian took advantage of the surface change to rally for victory over the two-time Wimbledon winner, 3-6, 6-1, 10-5, to end the opening leg of the exhibition tournament as the first champion. 

“I think it was a good match. I was expecting a tough one and I know that Petra is striking the ball very big, so I had to adapt my game a little bit,” Svitolina said.

“I was moving much better and was anticipating a lot, and in general, everything came together. I was serving much better... in the second and in the tiebreak as well.”

“I’m very happy with the match today and the two matches that I played here [so far] have been great. It’s a very different format than what we’re used to playing, but definitely it’s exciting for the players to get some matches.”

The duo will next be the top two seeds for the scheduled hard court portion of the exhibition, which began on Friday following the rescheduled final and is again being played with strict limitations on the number of spectators permitted and other social distancing precautions in place.

Experience outdid youth in the first semifinal, as Andrea Petkovic defeated 18-year-old Alexandra Vecic in a match between two Germans, 6-2, 6-3, to advance to a meeting with Kvitova, whom she lost to in the grass court quarterfinals, 6-4, 6-1. 

Vecic, a semifinalist in girls’ singles earlier this year at the Australian Open, stepped in for Julia Goerges, who withdrew after after suffering an ankle injury against Anastasija Sevatova in the grass court portion of the event. 

Later on, Sevastova cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 against Kiki Bertens to set up a semifinal clash against Svitolina for the second straight week. On grass, the Latvian was beaten, 7-6(2), 6-3. 

“It was a great game. Kiki is always tough to play and she has such a strong game,” Sevastova assessed. “I started very good and the first set was amazing, but it got tough in the end.”

On the prospect of playing Svitolina for the second time in four days, she added, “We practiced together here both times. Yesterday, we practiced here and once we practiced on grass. Now I have to play her again, and I’m looking forward to it. I think she played an amazing game today, but I think it’s better for me on hard courts.”

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