Elina Svitolina had to adjust to the windy and humid conditions to come out in her opening round at the Thailand Open Wednesday. At times the top seed gave Bibiane Schoofs enough room to fight but held her in straight sets 6-1, 6-4 on center court at the True Arena in Hua Hin.
The two met for the first time in singles action after meeting in doubles the other day where the Dutch player and her partner took down the Ukrainian and hers. 2020 hasn’t been the best start for the No.1 seed who was ousted in the opening round of Brisbane.
This marked her second WTA tournament and the third since the Australian Open, where she only made the third round. With the top seed in Thailand, the 25-year-old had a shot at controlling Schoofs and move quickly into the second round.
She broke the 31-year-old before coasting through her own service game in the second. A challenge from Schoofs extended the length of the third when Svitolina forced deuce but failed to score the double break. The number one seed returned to service, putting together a dominant streak that led her to a 5-1 commanding lead.
The Dutch star served to keep the set alive, forcing Svitolina to scramble on the returns. In response, the Ukrainian capped the opening set on serve reaching two set points to complete 29 minutes of play. Double faults were a major factor for Schoofs’ defeat committing five that damaged her overall service.
To improve, the 31-year-old held serve against the number one seed but failed to lock down a break chance. Svitolina got level, rushing to deuce in the second and broke Schoofs in the third for the lead. As the set went on, Svitolina continued to stay ahead of the Dutch star but couldn’t put together the same qualities as the first. By the eighth, Schoofs had successfully leveled at four all despite having four double faults follow her to that point.
A fifth opened the door for breakpoint but Svitolina blew two of them before a third was the charm. The 25-year-old served for the match but had to force deuce after unforced errors got her into trouble. Having to save a pair of breakpoints, the opportunity to close the match was in her grasp and nailed it to end her day in 1 hour and 19 minutes. In her post-game interview, Svitolina said,
“I definitely had to make some changes from the winter in Europe. It was a little bit different and very humid here, but in the end, I’m happy to be in a warm place and really enjoying it.”