Joe Wolfond

51m in the past

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY / Motion Pictures

TORONTO – For some time, it was scratchy, nervy, cat-and-mouse tennis, with lengthy yo-yoing rallies, acute angles, and a seize bag of paces and spins. It was punch and counterpunch, drop and lob, break and re-break. In the long run, although, it was solely Elina Svitolina – imposing her will, refusing to overlook, blotting out the daylight, and eventually hoisting her fifth WTA trophy of the yr.

Svitolina ran away with the Rogers Cup championship match on Sunday by out-grinding one of many recreation’s greatest grinders, sporting Caroline Wozniacki down and ending the event with a title-clinching bagel.

Wozniacki had scrapped her method to the ultimate by bedeviling a number of the largest hitters on tour, forcing them to hit additional balls and creating her personal offense by redirecting their tempo. However Svitolina put extra air beneath her ball – hitting with extra consistency and selection – and Wozniacki could not discover the identical alternatives. When she tried to drive the difficulty, the ball sailed on her. When she sat again and waited for Svitolina to overlook, the Ukrainian took cost and burned her.

“It was a troublesome day,” Wozniacki stated after the match. “She performed properly. She combined up the tempo and made it uncomfortable for me on the market.

“As we speak in all probability I might’ve used some extra tempo. However she performed actually sensible.”

The primary set had been sensitive, with plenty of probing, tentative factors during which neither participant actually hit via their photographs and every appeared to dare the opposite to tug the set off. They took turns dumping serve, and a fourth straight break appeared to be within the offing when Svitolina went down zero-30 whereas serving for the set at 5-four. However when push got here to shove, she was capable of flatten out her photographs and amp up her aggression in a means Wozniacki couldn’t. And after recovering to serve out the set, Svitolina began enjoying freer and looser, cleaner and meaner.

“Truly, I used to be very, very drained after the primary recreation of the primary set,” Svitolina stated afterward, citing the fast turnaround after enjoying two matches on Saturday.

“I knew I that I wanted to provide the whole lot as a result of Caroline does not miss a lot. It’s a must to work actually onerous to get unforced errors from her. And I simply determined, you recognize, I’ll simply play each ball and simply depart every part on the courtroom. And that is why, emotionally, I used to be relieved once I gained the primary set after which was enjoying higher and higher within the second.”

If the primary set was cat and mouse, the second was hammer and nail. Svitolina began pumping in robust first serves and portray the strains with aggressive strategy photographs. She diversified her depth and tempo – retaining Wozniacki off-stability and guessing – and took calculated dangers that regularly paid off. Briefly, she gained the best way Wozniacki had been profitable all week.

On match level, Svitolina dragged her opponent throughout the baseline, clipping every sideline with forehands earlier than Wozniacki despatched a lunging lob simply lengthy.

The outcome continued a season-lengthy development for each gamers. For Svitolina, it was her tour-main fifth title (and a document third Premier 5) in her fifth last. For Wozniacki, it was her sixth last, and sixth runner-up end – a drought that left her preventing again tears in the course of the trophy presentation.

The resurgent Dane had an incredible week, however on the finish of it, she received served a potent dose of her personal drugs.