Ascending Ukrainian, Elina Svitolina continues to underline her French Open 2017 credentials and takes a swipe at critics who say she does not turn up for big events by earning a spot in the final of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia against the rousing Romanian Simona Halep.

The Ukrainian faced a potentially tricky match against Garbine Murguruza of Spain, who has been showing signs of returning to form.

Svitolina makes a steady start and then takes control

It was an even start to an initially edgy match, with the first three games going to serve - not always the course of events on clay, as Svitolina took a 2-1 lead in the fourth game.

Svitolina used strength and guile to earn a break point in the fourth game. This put needed pressure on Murguruza, as the Spaniard produced an all too familiar unforced error - well familiar for this season anyway - as she suddenly trails 3-1. This spurred her into life and she raced to a 0-30 lead. Svitolina is nothing if not game, she upped her first serve accuracy to ply the pressure and secure a 4-1 lead.

It was an assured opening to the match from Svitolina, as Muruguruza appeared to be suffering from lack of form as well as a heavily strapped thigh.

Muguruza decides she has had enough and pulls out

The Spaniard played her best game against serve in the fifth game, whereby she pushed Svitolina, making her work hard to hold serve, but that was the last we would see of her.

Murguruza withdrew from the match without coming out for the sixth game, handing victory to an elated Svitolina who is now looking forward to the final.

The reason for Garbine's withdrawal was not clear at the time of going to press, but the heavily strapped thigh would surely have had something to do with it.

This injury is a worry for her going into the French Open 2017.

The Final Elina Svitolina v Simona Halep

Surprisingly, this well matched intriguing final (scheduled for 21st May 2017) represents the first meeting between these two accomplished clay court players. This, for many, could well be a dress-rehearsal for the French Open, the next Grand Slam, where you could expect them to meet again.

The key to this match, for me, is Svitolina's first serve percentage. She will need that to be around 85%, as her weakness at the moment seems to be a less than potent second serve. This is something she needs to work on, but in the meantime upping that first serve percentage to keep Halep on the back foot, this would most likely be the best strategy.

Halep v Svitolina prediction;

Well, Blasting News readers will already know that a prediction has been made for Svitolina to do well here - it will be a tough game, but victory would mean Svitolina goes into the French Open in blistering form.