October 27, 2017 / 3:20 PM / in 2 months

Svitolina dedicates dead rubber victory to fans

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Elina Svitolina ended a disappointing WTA Finals debut campaign on a high with an accomplished 6-3 6-4 win over world number one Simona Halep on Friday, a victory she dedicated to her fans for their continued support through a breakout season.

Tennis - WTA Tour Finals - Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore - October 27, 2017 Ukraine's Elina Svitolina in action during her group stage match against Romania's Simona Halep REUTERS/Edgar Su

Svitolina won five tournaments in 2017 to cruise into the elite eight-woman event for the first time but only showed glimpses of that stellar form against Halep after tough losses to Caroline Wozniacki and Caroline Garcia.

“For me, I was just trying to play for one point at a time and play for the fans that were there. I couldn’t just go there and lose or not do anything,” she told reporters of a round-robin match she started knowing she had been eliminated.

“I needed to do something today. I just tried to play the right way, the right thing what I have to do to beat Simona, and it worked today.”

The 23-year-old world number four added that she had struggled with the round-robin aspect of the tournament but vowed to come back stronger and better prepared for future tilts at the season-ending event.

“This tournament is tricky because you can lose a match and then come back and play in the semi-finals,” she said.

”So it happens and we are all human. We can lose our way. Yeah, it’s tricky, but you need to be ready for these kind of weeks and for this kind of tournament.

”Probably... I was not ready enough or the other girls were more ready than me.

“If I have the opportunity to come back here and play again, I will probably do something different. Hopefully, I will have this opportunity to come back.”

Svitolina also believed reaching number three in the world rankings this year allowed her to realize that she was part of an elite group at the top of the women’s game and would not let the disappointment of an early exit in Singapore dampen her mood.

“It’s been a huge step forward for me, and especially my game. I think everyone saw that I improved a lot,” she said.

“Yeah, it was like a solid performance this year. Of course there were some tough losses but no one can go unbeaten.”

Editing by Pritha Sarkar

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