Elina Svitolina bags her maiden WTA title

Pune: Eighteen-year-old Elina Svitolina of Ukraine denied tour veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm a date with history when she overpowered the Japanese 6-2, 6-3 to lift her maiden WTA title at the USD125,000 Indian Open WTA Challenger tournament on Sunday.

The summit clash of the inaugural Royal Indian Open was special for both the players as Svitolina was playing in her first ever WTA event final in only her fourth tour event while Date-Krumm was attempting to break USA`s Billie Jean King`s record of becoming the oldest singles winner on the WTA circuit.

While Date-Krumm had the experience and the guile, Svitolina boasted of powerful ground strokes and a big serve and it was expected that the contrasting styles would make the summit clash an interesting affair.

However, that was not to be. It looked like Date-Krumm, who had to come through an engrossing semifinal against Tamarine Tanasugarn on Saturday, had not recovered enough for the final.

Even Svitolina, playing with a strapped left thigh, was a shadow of the player who had hammered pre-tournament favourite Andrea Petkovik of Germany in the other semifinal but had enough in her tank to outgun the veteran and take home a prize purse of USD 20,000 and 160 ranking points.

Speaking after the match, Svitolina said, "It is a great feeling to win my maiden WTA title. I had watched her (Date-Krumm) play in the last few matches and was only focusing on playing my natural game."

Later at the presentation ceremony, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan felicitated the state`s upcoming tennis players -- Rutuja Bhosale, Prarthana Thombare and Arjun Kadhe -- and promised his government`s support in promoting the sport.

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