It was a showdown between two women who were looking for their first major semifinal. The experience that these two women have at Slams is quite different though. Elina Svitolina had been to the second week of a Grand Slam five times before this while Elise Mertens is making her maiden Slam quarterfinal.
Mertens was absolutely brilliant, winning 6-3, 6-0 in just over an hour to earn herself a spot in the Australian Open semifinal.
Mertens Off The Mark First
Both women had troubles in their opening service games, saving break points. Mertens had the first look to break after a return winner set up triple break point. She converted to put herself up a break and consolidated it for a 3-1 lead.
Svitolina was in dire need of a quick service game and a hold to love was just the case, keeping her within touching distance of the Belgian. Mertens found herself adding to her lead after breaking Svitolina for a 5-2 lead, but a sloppy service game gave one of the breaks back. Mertens held her nerve to take the opening set 6-3, putting herself a set away from her first-ever major semifinal.
Mertens Runs Away
Svitolina was making a lot of uncharacteristic errors and getting outrallied by Mertens. A quick break of serve gave the Hobart champion the lead, and the Belgian tried to fight back from a 40-0 deficit in Svitolina's second service game as she looked to extend her lead. A drop shot winner after a long rally brought it back to deuce and then back-to-back unforced errors from the world number four put her behind the eight ball.
It was a telling stat that Mertens was looking to be the aggressor as she was hitting a higher percentage of balls inside the baseline compared to the rest of the tournament. Down 0-30, Mertens continued to be aggressive as she got up to the net to bring herself to game point.
A 27-shot rally in the middle of a game saw Mertens get fired up as she went on to hold for a 4-0 lead. Svitolina had no answers for the Belgian, as mixing it up only did so much. Mertens was well in control, attacking the second serve as another backhand winner put her a game away from the match.
You knew it was that kind of day for Svitolina, who was well in control of a point at 30-30 to try and bring the match back, but absolutely bricked an overhead to set up match point for Mertens. The Belgian made no mistake, with another winner to end the match, notching the biggest win of her career.