French Open 2018: Svitolina gets tossed out in straight sets by Buzarnescu
Mihaela Buzarnescu put together a major victory for herself at the French Open Friday. The World No. 33 made it a very difficult day full of errors and frustrations for fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina who was defeated in straight sets 6-3, 7-5 on Court One at Roland Garros.
It brought an abrupt end to the Ukrainian’s run in a slam she thought she could capture.
This was their first meeting between one another in a pivotal spot of the tournament. A victory for either one would put them into the second week of action.
The Romanian had never seen the light of the main draw and was already in a position to be the dark horse of the section of her draw.
Her first two matches ended in straight sets against her opponent with her ending in front of the fourth seed. Svitolina had been to the round of 16 three times in the hopes of making it there for the fourth time.
Things were tight in the opening set with Svitolina leading the way through six until a change for the Romanian came in the second. It was there, that Buzarnescu made her strike that earned her the first break of the match.
She pulled together the next pair of wins giving her the set in 39 minutes that took the Ukrainian by surprise, but not without issues to her own game.
The 23-year-old won 9 of 18 from the first serve and returned 33 percent of shots. With a 14-3 run of winners for the Romanian, it was a set that Svitolina had to quickly put behind her in order to remain in the tournament.
Buzarnescu extended her streak to four games to start the second set with a service hold. Svitolina put one down of her own in response to not let further ground be lost.
She got a key break in the third that put her in the lead for the first time. The fourth saw an attack for control by the world number four as she wanted to widen the gap securing ground in the process.
Despite having the serve, Buzarnescu fought to keep things level, doing so after a few breaks on deuce.
They continued on the path as Svitolina tried with all her energy to regain a footing in the set but fell in a second straight loss to Buzarnescu.
After a few more breaks in the books, Svitolina got the result she wanted evening the set at three all, but her mission was far from complete. She remained a game down as Buzarnescu inched closer to an upset of the fourth seed with two games left to attain.
The ninth was a must win for the Ukrainian as she gained her opportunity to close out the set on her own terms. It became possible after Buzarnescu made a double fault on serve and racked up too many errors that brought her dominance to a stop.
After the game was over, she threw her racket in disgust, but played into the tenth with her playing defense. She made it hard for Svitolina to contain the service game earning a break point chance that went into the net forcing deuce for the fourth seed.
Achieving the AD point was still a difficult task for the Ukrainian as she saw Buzarnescu hit back big returns gaining her second break that gave her the win and a five-all tie.
Svitolina showed clear signs of frustration as her returns were ending up in the net far too frequently making it easy for Buzarnescu to get the 6-5 lead on serve.
Svitolina stood at a point she didn’t want to be in the tournament needing something great to come from her serve.
She started with a winner and ended up on the right side of a 25-shot rally that Buzarnescu blew up with a ball landing long of the baseline.
It gave the fourth seed a shot for the game point which was forced to deuce by the Romanian on a net-front winner.
It seemed like all hope was lost for Svitolina as Buzarnescu earned her first match point landed one into the net ending 1 hour and 37 minutes and a huge victory for the 30-year-old.
While she kept her first serve to a solid average, the 31 winners she put together blew a gash in Svitolina’s offense.
The Ukrainian ended with 46 percent of points won on the first serve and a dismal 26 of 67 points from her return game.
With that and 29 errors, it brought a streak to a close for the 23-year-old who hasn’t lost early since 2014. While she tries to put it behind her and prepare for the next surface on the calendar, Buzarnescu would go into Sunday facing US Open finalist Madison Keys.