Svitolina continues Rogers Cup push with win over Konta
Elina Svitolina kept her focus in check to march on at the Rogers Cup Thursday afternoon. The world number five kept her back-to-back championship hopes alive by answering the problems of Johanna Konta. Konta could not get the momentum needed in her straight sets losses of 6-3, 6-4 on Court Nine on the grounds of IGA Stadium. The 2017 Tennis champion delivered big hits, focus and aggression to stay alive reaching the quarterfinals for a second straight year.
The Ukrainian got a pass into the third round she didn’t see coming, with Mihaela Buzarnescu suffering an unfortunate ankle injury during their match on Wednesday. Having advanced, she faced the Brit for the fourth time and the first since Brisbane.
With two wins against her on hard courts, the Ukrainian had an advantage as Konta was on her second match in a day. While she didn’t put much effort playing to win against Victoria Azarenka, adjusting to the change would be important for her to stay high on her offense.
She followed Svitolina who made good to hold her opening service game to set the pace. The Ukrainian did more to up the ante with Konta who again struggled on serve from the previous match. Svitolina pressed the rallies to her advantage taking the break in the fourth with two games between herself and the Brit.
It was soon 4-1 to the world number five causing Konta to take a chat with coach Michael Joyce who told her to come forward on Svitolina's return and earn points that way.
She instead relied on her serve to do the work playing behind the baseline to get a second game under her belt. It was still an uphill battle that she endured as the errors began to rattle her enough giving Svitolina the 5-2 lead. She started to get the serve back in the right direction firing off three shots that set up a chance to blank the Ukrainian for once. Svitolina denied her with a great return winner on the line but watched the Brit score an ace to get out of trouble.
The 23-year-old served for the set in the ninth where she put her best together giving very little to Konta to capture the set in 35 minutes. Svitolina had a better run of her service game where she hit 14 of 17 despite serving 54 percent from the first serve. The consistency of her game was enough to keep Konta from gaining any further momentum.
She couldn’t stop the Brit from scoring on her serve to start the second set and got in trouble with her second double fault of the match on serve at deuce. She recovered quickly with a winner putting it away with a missed forehand from Konta. She was broken a double fault that came to give last year's champion three break points getting it on a big forehand back to the Brit.
Despite being in a hole, Konta showed a slight improvement by the fifth where she kept in touch with Svitolina whose lead remained a game. After winning her serve, the Ukrainian took a conference with Andrew Bettles who told her how to deal with the change and get back to dictating the set. Konta was the one who dictated the pace after the third taking three games in a row from the Ukrainian who had a 4-2 grip on the set. It came to a close ending the Brit's winning streak with a serve to love in the seventh.
Konta evened the score to make earning the fifth game huge for either one. Konta got out of trouble in the nine committing two double faults on serve giving Svitolina a chance on deuce. It didn’t come easy for the 23-year-old but after a few breaks, she was the one taking the step up to serve for the match. The Ukrainian put all the aggression she had left in the match to create three chances to get it but only needed one with Konta returning into the net to end her run in 1 hour and 25 minutes. The first serve remained solid scoring on 72 percent from the first serve.
With a great performance in the record books, the Ukrainian would prepare her quarterfinal match on Friday to determine if she can continue defending last year's title.