Elina Svitolina got through her opening match quickly at the BNL Internazionali D’Italia Tuesday night.
The world No.4 put the beatdown against Petra Martic, who had very little in response to the 6-1, 6-2 straight sets match on Corte Centrale at Foro Italico.
The defending champion’s statement on the night had her starting on the right foot in the tournament.
A fourth meeting on clay leaves a chance for the Croatian to level herself with the world number four in their series. Last year, the Ukrainian got the edge beating Martic in a thrilling three sets to move on at the French Open.
Despite not getting deep into Madrid, Svitolina’s return to Rome as defending champion gave her a rise in confidence to perform the same way she did last year. While it was 5 years since Martic beat Svitolina, the task would be much more difficult to pull off.
She watched, as the Ukrainian held, then broke in the second to conduct some comfort for herself in the set.
Martic battled back hunting down a shot for her first break on deuce but, faltered to hand Svitolina another victory. She got on the board in the fourth but was still facing a three-game gap between herself and the fourth seed who was on a run to get a grip in the match.
She took the next two games in a swift fashion that brought a close to things in 31 minutes. Martic suffered on the second serve landing 33 percent of shots despite matching the number of winners with the fourth seed who had an average offense that dominated overall.
The second began differently for the Croatian, as she held in her opening service game followed by Svitolina quick win in the second.
The third went to the Ukrainian who broke the will of Martic who called down her coach to tell her that.
While some aggression came from Martic in the fourth, the same result arrived in the shape of a 3-1 score for the 23-year-old.
It was a one way run for the world number four who gained a second double break of the match eyeing the third round on the horizon.
Martic showed desperation on serve in the seventh rushing through the points that gave her a 40-0 run but Svitolina’s return nearly caused her further anger.
She held the world number four off but soon faced an end to her tournament. The Ukrainian gained three match points where a line driver winner away from the Croatian ended her dominance in 61 minutes.
Svitolina recorded 24 winners in the span of 15 games that ended her serve percentage just below 80 percent landing 26 of 33.
Though her second serve underperformed, the low force of aggression from her opponent allowed her a breeze that put her into the third round facing the winner between Daria Kasatkina and American Danielle Collins.Published 16 May 2018, 01:07 IST