China Open 2019: Kiki Bertens eliminates Elina Svitolina in straight sets
This was the fourth meeting between the two, with Svitolina leading the head-to-head record 2-1. After putting in a lot of effort to defeat Sofia Kenin on Wednesday night, the 25-year-old needed to bring her best to defeat the surging World No. 8.
Double faults were a regular feature at the start of the match for both and as Bertens got into her second service game, the issue nearly got out of control. But the 27-year-old managed to hold and then turn things around by attacking Svitolina's serve, creating break point chances. The Dutchwoman ultimately put away a short ball for a 3-1 lead.
A hold widened the gap between the two and forced the World No. 3 to chat with coach Andrew Bettles. The Brit gave motivation to the 25-year-old and told her to get aggressive on the returns, which became the cornerstone of her comeback.
Svitolina held in the sixth game and followed that with a break and a hold to level the score at four-all. But Bertens then made it 5-4, forcing Svitolina to serve to stay in the set.
The Ukrainian answered with a hold to continue the set. But with a chance for a 6-5 lead, after Bertens committed back-to-back double faults, Svitolina failed to keep the ball in play long enough.
She overcame the mistakes on serve to force the tiebreak, but a string of errors gave Bertens the set.
It was a 68-minute fight with Bertens scoring 20 winners but also committing six double faults. Svitolina on her part wasn't proactive enough to put her opponent on the backfoot.
The two opened the second set with strong holds of serve, giving up just a point each. But the change came quickly when Bertens broke Svitolina in the third game and then consolidated to make it 3-1.
Instead of recording double faults the Dutch star was now getting the aces to flow, hitting them right on the T that led her to comfortable service games.
Svitolina soon got broken again to fall behind 1-5. The 25-year-old worked the net to survive a game but the eighth seed served out the match easily. She ended it on a rally-ending lob to the open court, beating the third seed in 1 hour and 44 minutes.