Elina Svitolina continued storming through the draw as she lived up to her title credentials, overcoming a determined and the dangerous hard-hitting Viktoria Kuzmova in the second round of the 2018 French Open, triumphing with a straightforward 6-3, 6-4 scoreline after just an hour and 21-minutes of play. With this win, the Ukrainian sealed her place in her fourth consecutive appearance in the third round here in Paris, and this time she will face 31st seed Mihaela Buzarnescu for a spot in the second week.
Kuzmova was the clear aggressor in this match but her aggressive style of play certainly brought about some risks as she ended the match with 29 winners and a staggering amount of 41 unforced errors. Whereas, Svitolina had a much better day at the office with some clean statistics as she hit just 15 errors alongside 14 winners. The fourth seed also claimed 71 percent of first service points, proving how much of a weapon her serve is nowadays.
Svitolina edges the tight first set
It was a marathon game to begin the match with as Kuzmova applied pressure on Svitolina from the early stages, earning two break point chances in the opening game but failed to convert her chances. The Ukrainian was serving well but her second serves were often attacked by the vicious returns of Kuzmova, but ultimately managed to survive the huge scare as the Slovakian sent a forehand sailing long.
30 points and just two games concluded — another lengthy game followed as this time it was Svitolina, who was performing well with her controlled aggression. However, she was not able to capitalize on her opportunities, letting three break points come and go. A series of comfortable service holds followed for Svitolina but Kuzmova had to constantly battle her own inconsistencies, saving another two break points in the sixth game.
With all her service games going to deuce, Kuzmova finally succumbed to the pressure towards the closing stages of the set, getting broken in the eighth game to hand Svitolina the lead alongside the golden opportunity to serve out the set. She did so accordingly, not disappointing her fans, and clinched the first set 6-3 after just 37 minutes of play having lost just five points on her first serve.
Svitolina claims the excellent victory
Svitolina surged to a commanding 3-1 lead within a blink of an eye and seemed on course for the comfortable win. She was firing consecutive winners before Kuzmova sent a huge forehand directly into the net, handing the fourth seed the first break in the match. The Slovakian initially had the golden opportunity to break straight back but once again was wasteful on her chances as Svitolina gathered up her good serves and fended off an incoming surge from the underdog.
However, after three break points missed, Kuzmova was finally able to make a breakthrough as Svitolina started to produce several errors and allowed her opponent to level the scores in the second set. Nonetheless, it proved to be just the start of four consecutive breaks, with both players returning much better as compared to the first set. Ending the streak was Svitolina, who had a timely break to earn the golden opportunity to serve out the match. Dutifully taking her chances, she comfortably served out the match and earned the excellent win over such a dangerous opponent.