Elina Svitolina suffered a huge scare in the first round of the US Open as she was forced to battle against the unheralded Katerina Siniakova, who was one of the most dangerous floaters in the draw. The Ukrainian recovered from a 0-2 deficit in the final set and clinched six of the last seven games of the match to triumph in three tough sets, despite serving a bagel in the opening set.
Svitolina whitewashes Siniakova
Siniakova made a very slow start into the match as she failed to find her range early on, committing a couple of unforced errors to gift Svitolina the break of serve in the opening game. With some well-controlled aggression, the Ukrainian fended off an incredible three break points in her first service game, getting through a nervy start to consolidate the break for a 2-0 lead. Siniakova’s woes continued to plague her as she failed to deal well with Svitolina’s solid groundstrokes, often allowing her opponent to overpower her in baseline rallies.
Soon after, the Ukrainian looked to be cruising through the first set as she opened up a double break advantage before easily holding her serve to extend her lead, looking poised for a comfortable victory. Unforced errors from Siniakova seemed to have been the crucial factor in the first set as a total of 15 errors to just three winners allowed Svitolina to clinch a bagel, triumphing 6-0 after just 24 minutes of play.
Siniakova comes out of nowhere to steal the momentum
Siniakova continued to struggle through the match as she was broken in the opening game of the second set, throwing in a couple of unforced errors and therefore allowed Svitolina to lead by a set and a break. Unexpectedly, the Rogers Cup champion played her first loose game of the match and Siniakova finally got herself onto the scoreboard as she broke straight back to level the scores. Nonetheless, Svitolina was quick to regain her lead as she took the next two games within a blink of an eye.
Siniakova found herself in deep trouble when she trailed 0-6 2-4 30-40, but some impressive forehands by the Czech allowed her to come back from the brink and lessen the deficit, keeping her in contention for the win. At 3-5 down in the second set, Siniakova finally played some of her best tennis as she took advantage of a mini slip-up by her opponent, rattling off three straight games to take the lead for the first time in the match. The set proceeded into a tiebreak, but play was suspended with the scores at 2-1, and it was later announced that the match had to be delayed to the next day.
Siniakova makes a great start upon resumption of play
When play resumed on the second day, Siniakova came out as the fresher player as Svitolina had a slow start, losing four straight points to start the day with. The Czech eventually capitalized on her chances and clinched the second set 7-6 out of nowhere, sending the match into a deciding set.
Svitolina fights back from early deficit to triumph
An impressive lob winner on break point in the opening game of the final set saw Siniakova ride on her momentum and clinch the break of serve, taking the early lead. Svitolina looked erratic early on as she allowed the underdog to consolidate the break of serve and extend her advantage on the scoreboard, with a huge upset looking on the cards. The Ukrainian finally found her range as she secured an easy service hold before breaking straight back despite still looking erratic.
Svitolina got herself into a comfortable position when she broke for the second consecutive time, with Siniakova starting to get nervous and inconsistent. The fifth-ranked player’s run of games ended at five as she claimed a 5-2 lead having come from 0-2 down to do so. Not disappointing her fans, Svitolina looked sharp towards the end of the match and successfully served out the match without a hitch, sealing the win after 2 hours and 22 minutes which was spread over two days of play.