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French Open 2018: Svitolina beats Kuzmova to ease into the third round 

Rudy Martinez
ANALYST
Feature
101   //    30 May 2018, 21:24 IST

TENNIS-FRA-OPEN-WOMEN

Elina Svitolina earned herself a better outcome at the French Open on Wednesday. The fourth seed’s expertise shined bright against Slovakia’s Viktoria Kuzmova keeping the youngster back in a 6-3, 6-4 win on Suzanne Lenglen Court at Roland Garros.

The Ukrainian’s save on Sunday allowed her to play on and against an opponent she has never faced. With a few days to work out the kinks, Kuzmova showed her strengths early against Francesca Schiavone taking her down in a straight sets match that finished in matching tiebreakers.

With her statement being made to the best of the best, the 20-year-old would show Svitolina a thing or two about fighting for every point when you have nothing to lose.

She proved her point defending her serve against the Ukrainian but fell under pressure on deuce. She kept the same tactics for being the tough one against the world number four coming up with the break in the second.

Both players began to show signs of beating one another with their own games with Svitolina picking up the pace in the fifth scoring a serve to love. Kuzmova stayed with the world number four right before her opponent opened the gap and never looked back taking the opening set in 37 minutes.

Svitolina saw a lot come from her first serve nailing 80 percent of the same with only five winners but making only five unforced errors. Kuzmova had more of those that led to her faltering midway to give Svitolina the edge. She didn’t let her keep the winning streak going into the second set making sure she used the same strategy to play well against the fourth seed.

Svitolina responded by opening the gap at 3-1 before the Slovakian reeled her in with a break in the sixth. The Ukrainian tried to get away but Kuzmova wouldn’t have any free points to spare as she was destined to make the set her to win.

Svitolina scored a key break in the ninth that gave her a great shot at serving things out for the match. The 20-year-old let up in the tenth erring on both sides of her racket that ended things with another backhand into the net.

The straight sets win gave Svitolina a spot in the third round after 81 minutes that saw her first serve percentage stay above 70 percent. Svitolina committed 15 errors making it a very good show of force against an opponent who couldn’t remain consistent. While she moves her way into another tournament, the fourth seed will prepare for a third-round matchup against Mihaela Buznarnescu of Romania.

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Rudy Martinez
ANALYST
A writer with eight years experience in sportswriting. He specializes in the National Hockey League, WTA Tennis and both summer and winter Olympic sports.
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