Elina Svitolina third to qualify for the WTA Finals

The Ukrainian has used a career year to propel her to her first-ever Singapore qualification.

Elina Svitolina third to qualify for the WTA Finals
Svitolina all smiles after her title in Dubai (Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Elina Svitolina joins a list of five players to qualify for the WTA Finals in Singapore today. She joins Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, and Venus Williams, among those who qualified during the start of the Asian swing and throw in the first qualifier, Garbiñe Muguruza, and you have one excellent field.

The Ukrainian has five titles this year, with three of them coming at Premier 5 events. 

Flying in February

After a semifinal in Brisbane and a third round exit at the Australian, Svitolina began to rake in the silverware. In her first tournament post-Melbourne, she stormed through a fairly straightforward draw in Taipei City en route to her first title only dropping a set which came against qualifier Ons Jabeur

After winning both her rubbers in Fed Cup, she extended her win streak to 12 in February after winning the Dubai title. Similarly to Taipei City, she only dropped a set en route to a title but this time, she defeated the likes of former world number ones Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki to earn the silverware. 

Dirty Dancing

Her phenomenal win streak came to an end against Nao Hibino in Kuala Lumpur, and she failed to continue her hot run of tennis in the heat of California and Miami losing fairly early in both tournaments. Once she transitioned to the clay though, she was back firing on all cylinders. 

She entered as the top seed in Istanbul where the draw was not too difficult. She ran into some trouble in her opening match against qualifier Victoria Kamenskaya but battled out of it to win in three. After that, she did not drop a set and captured her third title of the year. 

Saisai Zheng eliminated her early in Madrid, but she rebounded marvelously to win her second Premier 5 title of the season in Rome, battling through the likes of Pliskova Muguruza, and Halep.

Svitolina captured a second Premier 5 title of the year in Rome (Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Svitolina captured a second Premier 5 title of the year in Rome (Michael Steele/Getty Images)

She entered the French Open as one of the favorites and fell behind against both Tsvetana Pironkova and Petra Martic before winning in a decider. Her big opportunity was lost though against Halep. The Ukrainian was up a set and 5-1 against Halep and ended up losing the second set in a tiebreak and was subsequently handed a bagel in the final set in what has to be one of the most disappointing losses of Svitolina's season.

Summer of Ups and Downs

The grass was not greener in Svitolina's case, losing in her second match in Birmingham and getting overpowered by Jelena Ostapenko in the fourth round of Wimbledon. Her first tournament after the All-England Club took place in Toronto at the Rogers Cup. She took out an all-star cast of Daria Kasatkina, Venus, Muguruza, Halep, and Wozniacki to claim the title in Canada. 

She was ousted in her second match at Cincinnati to Julia Goerges but still came into the US Open as one of the favorites. Her opening round match was halted due to rain as she dropped a second set tiebreak to Katerina Siniakova but still won in three. With the crowd against her, she knocked out Shelby Rogers to set up a showdown against Madison Keys.

Svitolina failed to find her rhythm in the opening set under the Arthur Ashe lights but dominated the second to force a deciding set. With the crowd behind her and against the ropes, Keys fired her way to the victory. 

Tennis