Wuhan Open 2019: Elina Svitolina defeats Garbine Muguruza in straight sets
A well-focused play from Elina Svitolina gave her the win in her Round Of 32 match at the Wuhan Open on Tuesday. The World No.3 got into a thrilling race with Garbine Muguruza for the opening set but put the throttle up in the second that saw her coast to victory 7-5, 6-2 on centre court at the Wuhan Optical Valley Tennis Centre.
It marked her best win since the US Open and the Ukranian made a huge statement.
This marked the tenth matchup between the two stars. With struggles since the US Open, Svitolina and Muguruza haven’t played the best of matches coming into the Asian swing of the season.
While standing as the World No.3, the Ukrainian has struggled to impress.
The transition of coaches and struggles in the competition left the Spaniard needing a decent finish to the year. With her last win against Svitolina back at Roland Garros, the challenge would be higher than ever as the third seed set for a battle.
She witnessed a challenge from the Spaniard as the breaks took precedence in the first three games. After Muguruza gave herself a double break, she fought with all her might to secure a hold in the fourth that went into three breaks of deuce.
With the 3-1 lead, Svitolina knew that a win kept her in reach but trailed. After the hold, she called out coach Andrew Bettles who told her to bring a little more aggression and game plan to focus. Waiting for her opportunities would help her find the depth and be a change to fighting Muguruza.
With a stronger backhand, the Ukrainian forced deuce in the sixth, but couldn’t stop the solid forehand of the former World No.1 from adding another hold to her bottom line. The World No.3 struck back with a surge of power that not only gave her the hold but with a break in the eighth, she consolidated with a hold to play for the set.
Muguruza wouldn’t give her that comfort to do so and held firm with a serve to love that levelled them at five-all.
The two went to deuce in the 11th with Svitolina trying to pull the trigger on serve but switched to her defensive skills.
After two breaks, she put together a gutsy service hold scoring the win on a well placed crosscourt. With the 6-5 lead for Svitolina, the pressure was on the Spaniard to act and hold serve but a fourth double fault came at the wrong time.
The setpoint was awarded to the Ukrainian who watched her opponent err on the final rally to end the set in 56 minutes. While Muguruza had 18 winners, the unforced errors got out of hand committing 34 that caused trouble for the first serve percentage.
With the need to engage focus from it, Muguruza struggled early in the following set giving Svitolina an early break. It soon turned into a 3-0 lead for the World No.3 with a break in hand. She couldn’t get a fourth as Muguruza took a chat with former Fed Cup captain Anabel Medina Garrigues that helped her get back on serve and score a hold that ended the winning streak of the Ukrainian.
Despite remaining in a serious deficit, she fought in the sixth needing four breaks to get the job done. It was the last she saw as the third seed stayed focused taking a late coaching call with Bettles to strike the ball well and clinch the victory in one hour and 36 minutes.
“ I always expect a tough match, Svitolina said during her on-court interview. “I try to play every point to the last set which was very important and the high level of the match today.”
With a move into the third round, she’ll take on tennis veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia on Wednesday.