Elina Svitolina, Kristina Mladenovich win WTA titles

The tour events are over for the week in Taiwan and St. Petersburgh.

Neither Elina Svitolina nor Kristina Mladenovic had to be too happy about their showings at the 2017 Australian Open. Svitolina struggled in her third-round match before crashing out of the draw to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Mladenovic didn’t even make it that far as she fell in the first round to Ana Konjuh 6-4, 6-2. However, both Mladenovic and Svitolina have something to feel positive about now, the first week after the conclusion of the Australian Open. They picked up titles in St. Petersburgh and Taiwan respectively.

For Mladenovic, a player that represents France, the title is the first singles title of her career. She defeated Yulia Putintseva, an improving player on tour, 6-2, 6-7, 6-4 on Sunday. The result actually sees the loser of the match, Putintseva, improve to a new career high as she’ll be ranked 27th on Monday. For Mladenovic, she gains a full 20 spots in the rankings and will be up to 31st on Monday. If she continues her success in the months ahead, especially at Indian Wells and Miami, then she might set her own personal best soon (she has been as high as 27th).

“I have no words, really, to express what I feel right now,” she said to the media after the match. “This win means a lot to me. It was my fourth final, and I’d lost three before that. The wait was definitely worth it because this tournament is just amazing, from the organization all week to the show at the end.”

Svitolina proved no match for her final opponent in Taiwan, defeating Peng Shuai 6-3, 6-2. The result doesn’t budge her up in the rankings, however the ranking points will give her some insurance against falling down anytime soon. She will remain the World No. 13 on Monday and could make a push toward the Top 10 in the months ahead. Several players currently ranked above Svitolina all fell ahead of the final, namely Venus Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Dominika Cibulkova, and Simona Halep.

“This morning I just decided to give 100%, even 150% if there’s such a thing, in this match,” she saidΒ in a press conference after beating her opponent. “It’s a final, so you always want to be at the top of your game, but it’s not always possible.”

There are no tour events this week, however the 2017 Qatar Open will run next week. That event appears as though it will be well contested with Angelique Kerber, Karolina Pliskova, and Johanna Konta just a few of the stars on the direct-entry list.

Shane Lambert