For the second straight year, Elina Svitolina won the Italian Open in Rome, defeating Simona Halep in both finals. Just one week out from the French Open, the Ukrainian has established herself as a major contender for the Paris title.

Svitolina dropped just one set en route to the trophy in Rome, falling behind 0-6 the opening set of her third-round match against No. 14 Daria Kasatkina before regrouping to win. She was far more clinical in dismissing No. 14 Angelique Kerber and Anett Kontaveit to reach the final. Against Halep on Sunday, she scored a bagel of her own in a 6-0, 6-4 victory.

The Elina Svitolina File

Age: 23
Height: 5-9
Residence: Odessa, Ukraine
Current Rank: 4
Career-High Rank: 3 (September 2017)
Best US Open Finish: Round 4 (2017)

The Baseline:

- The Rome title is Svitolina’s third of 2018, in addition to victories in Brisbane (January) and Dubai (February). She now has 12 career WTA singles titles and has won at least one title each year since 2013.

- With the win, she improves her record in WTA finals to 14-2, and she is a perfect 8-0 since 2017. The 23-year-old credits much of that success to the lessons she learned from a painful loss in the 2012 Wimbledon girls’ final, when she won just four games against Eugenie Bouchard. (See “They Said It!” below for more).

- Svitolina’s straight-sets win over Halep is her fourth victory over the current world No. 1 in five matches dating back to the 2017 Rome final. Halep‘s only victory in that period came at the French Open in a three-set quarterfinal. The pair’s only other meeting came in Bulgaria in 2013, which Halep won.

- Despite being ranked as high as No. 3 in the world, Svitolina has yet to reach a Grand Slam semifinal in 22 attempts. She has reached the fourth round or better in each of the last four majors, however, and will be looking to improve on her quarterfinal run in Paris last year. She also reached the French Open quarters in 2015 and the Australian Open quarters in January. As a junior, Svitolina won the French Open girls’ title in 2010 at age 15.

They Said It!

“In that [Wimbledon junior] final, I was so stressed, so scared, that I didn't even play two balls into the court. Ever since that moment, I decided I’m going to go out there and do something. Today, from the first point, I was trying to play really aggressive, go for my shots and create the game.” – Svitolina told, describing the lessons she took from losing the 2012 Wimbledon girls’ final to Bouchard.