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French Open: Svitolina avoids early exit in win over Tomljanovic

2018 French Open Tennis Tournament. Roland Garros. Paris. France.
2018 French Open Tennis Tournament, Roland Garros.
Rudy Martinez
Modified 27 May 2018, 22:44 IST

Elina Svitolina needed a comeback that allowed her to regroup and get out of danger at the French Open this Sunday. The world number four overcame a 1-5 start against Ajla Tomljanovic to take the match in straight sets 7-5, 6-3 on Suzanne Lenglen Court at Roland Garros.

What was a great start from the 25-year-old ended in way too many errors adding frustration that let the world number four avoid an early upset.

The world number four got started on the clay courts of Roland Garros in a third meeting against the Australian. The recent two time champion of the Italian Open, prepared for her sixth appearance in the main draw looking to surpass her personal best of reaching the quarterfinals.

While she has been hot on the current surface, the same could be said for Tomljanovic who came close to winning at Rabat, losing just three in her last ten. With momentum working for both, the start of the match would depend on who got the best start out of the blocks.

They both opened the match with service holds against one another until the tide changed in the third for the Aussie. She broke Svitolina before holding again to take a 3-1 lead on the Ukrainian.

The unforced errors were racking up for the fourth seed who left the door open for Tomljanovic to dictate further. She had a 5-1 grip on the set as Svitolina continued to struggle with the errors on the court while the 25-year-old remained aggressive and focused.

Svitolina was under the gun to pick her game off the ground and did so in the seventh to keep the set alive.

The challenge of overcoming the deficit was greater in the situation but as Tomljanovic began committing double faults in the game, the possibility grew for the fourth seed. She battled on deuce in the eighth game, reaching the AD point three times before she won.

It looked to be just the sort of change Svitolina needed from her opponent as she had five double faults recorded to her name. It gave the world number four a confidence boost that allowed her to serve with strength in the ninth sitting a game down of leveling the set.

Serving for the set on her second chance didn’t cause any problems for the Ukrainian as she battled for every point that made it possible to gain hold of control. Tomljanovic fought against the strain of errors off the forehand but got to deuce. Knowing of her opponent’s wishes to regain the lead, Svitolina took the AD point to play for a shot at the set. She reached a breakpoint chance due to Tomljanovic’s constant errors that eventually became too much as she lost six games in a row in the span of 56 minutes. She smashed her racket after the point in response hoping that she could put the troubles behind her.


The same could be said for the Ukrainian who didn’t have a strong start to the opening set but put down a strong output to begin the second. She gained a break in the second that was her best margin of yet right before Tomljanovic got on the board with a break of her own. She levelled the score at two-all securing her serve that got them back on track.

Svitolina locked down her second straight service hold that gave her back the lead before taking the next game with ease. After giving Tomljanovic a win on the break, she took the Australian in the eight before closing out the match on her own terms making it a tough loss after 89 minutes on the court.

While the first set didn’t go as planned for the 23-year-old, her efforts showed promise in the second averaging her serve above 60 percent. Keeping the double faults at bay and minimizing the errors allowed her to continue in the tournament where she’ll await the winner between Francesca Schiavone and Viktoria Kuzmova on Wednesday.

Published 27 May 2018, 22:44 IST
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