US Open: Elina Svitolina sails into the third round

US Open: Elina Svitolina sails into the third round

Elina Svitolina was so impressive in terms of tactics and her game plan as she ousted the tricky Tatjana Maria in straight sets to move into the third round of the US Open.

don-han
Don Han

Revenge is sweet, as one would say. Elina Svitolina managed to exact revenge for her heartbreaking Wimbledon first-round loss after she easily ousted the dangerous Tatjana Maria in the second round of the 2018 US Open. Svitolina, who was firing on all cylinders and playing extremely well, triumphed with a commanding and straightforward 6-2, 6-3 scoreline after just an hour and eight minutes of play.

Making her debut in the newly-constructed Louis Armstrong Stadium, Svitolina was quick to get down to work, being efficient as she came out of the gates firing and fended off Maria, who employs a tricky serve-and-volley tactic often enough to trouble the top players. Svitolina will either face Wang Qiang or Irina-Camelia Begu in the third round, but should be the overwhelming favourite to make the second week from here on.

Elina Svitolina will be extremely proud of her performance today | Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America
Elina Svitolina will be extremely proud of her performance today | Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America

Svitolina put in a convincing performance and consolidated her title credentials with this impressive display, firing 24 winners to just 19 unforced errors. Maria committed the same number of unforced errors but blasted just 18 winners, with her serve-and-volley tactic not working efficiently on both her serve and return as Svitolina managed to come up with some amazing passing shots to ultimately grab the win. The Ukrainian won 68 percent of net points while she limited her opponent to just 47 percent of those points, with this being a crucial statistic in deciding the match outcome.

Svitolina easily claims the first set

Svitolina definitely came into the match with many preparations in terms of tactics, particularly after her loss to Maria at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. She knew she had to dominate the net — and that was what she did in the early stages. The world number seven exploited on every opportunity to charge towards the net and kept Maria at the baseline, preventing the German from employing her usual serve-and-volley tactic.

After grabbing the break in the opening game with a series of winners, Svitolina suffered a lapse in focus and committed consecutive unforced errors which paved the way for Maria to break straight back and get onto the scoreboard. Nonetheless, Svitolina remained calm and composed, continuing to apply the pressure on Maria’s baseline game as she eventually regained the lead.

Svitolina came out of the blocks firing and was as solid as a rock at the baseline, playing well with her controlled aggression. Maria could not find a way to overhit the seventh seed and a double-fault led to her being broken once more. Serving for the set at 5-2 up, Svitolina converted on her second set point and strolled to take the first set after just a quick 33 minutes of play.

Elina Svitolina only lost one point behind her first serve in the second set and did not face a break point | Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America
Elina Svitolina only lost one point behind her first serve in the second set and did not face a break point | Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America

Svitolina impressively claims the win

Svitolina was taking more risks and had the courage to charge towards the net despite Maria’s famous tactics. Her aggression continued to be rewarded as she rode on her momentum, and broke serve in the opening game of the second set. She easily consolidated the break for a 2-0 lead and looked on course to claim the huge confidence-boosting win.

Maria managed to get onto the scoreboard before she tried to slice her returns to give her adequate time to move towards the net and prevent Svitolina from hitting past her. However, some crucial errors by the German and the Ukrainian’s passing shots certainly led to a dip in confidence for Maria.

Serving to stay in the match, Maria fended off double match points and even earned a game point opportunity, which Svitolina saved with a huge backhand winner. Ultimately, a wild forehand by the veteran allowed the world number seven to clinch the comfortable 6-2, 6-3 win after just 68 minutes of play.

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