It was an extremely encouraging performance from world number four Elina Svitolina in her opening-round match against the tricky Alize Cornet at the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open, as the Ukrainian comfortably prevailed 6-2, 6-2 after just a mere 71-minutes of play. The Ukrainian’s path does not get easier, though, as she will now face either Barbora Strycova or clay-court specialist Carla Suarez Navarro in the second round.
Svitolina was dominating in her display, firing a stunning 28 winners as compared to just 10 from Cornet. Charging towards the net on 17 different occasions, Svitolina earned 13 points there while losing only six points each on her first and second deliveries. A high first-serve percentage could also be credited for the world number four’s victory, and she will look to prove her French Open title credentials with a deep run here.
Svitolina strolls through the one-sided opening set
It was one-way traffic from the first point onwards, with Svitolina impressive dictating play and grabbing the early lead without breaking a sweat. The Ukrainian prevailed easily for a comfortable 2-0 lead within a blink of an eye, though Cornet escaped from the brink and came from 0-30 down to get on board, coming up with some impressive shots during the process.
Her varied play was not enough to fend off Svitolina’s powerful play as Cornet struggled to deal with her consistency, and triumphing in the longest game of the match helped the world number four to earn a commanding 4-1 double-break lead. She then went on to consolidate the break, placing herself just one game away from winning the first set.
However, a comeback seemed to be on the cards with Cornet’s never-say-die attitude reflecting in her play, lessening the deficit though it was just too late as Svitolina ultimately claimed the impressive 6-2 first set after just 38 minutes with an outstanding volley winner, letting out a huge “come on” after grabbing the set.
Injury issues surface for Cornet as Svitolina takes the win
Rebounding from the disappointing first set where she was completely shut out, Cornet had the perfect start into the second set as she broke serve for the first time, ensuring that it was the first time she had led on the scoreboard today. However, that was the only stretch of games where she could find joy in, having lost her way after being two points away from a formidable 3-0 lead.
A run of three quick games for Svitolina saw her grab back the lead, and Cornet proceeded to call for a medical time-out due to a back issue. Finding the lines and serving with precision, the Ukrainian was firing on all cylinders which helped her to earn the golden opportunity to serve out the match at 5-2 up. Eventually, it was six games on the trot for the higher-ranked player and title favourite as Svitolina comfortably served out the match to love, claiming the impressive win after an hour and 11-minutes of play.