Fifth seed Elina Svitolina began her French Open campaign with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over the dangerous Yaroslava Shvedova. The Ukranian, one of the title favorites, picked up her tour-leading 32nd match win of the season.
Shvedova makes the first breakthrough
After a pair of routine service holds to open up the match, it was the underdog who gained the first break with some offensive play off the ground to take a 2-1 lead. After a hold to extend to a 3-1 advantage, it was Svitolina who began to settle down and her consistency off the ground brought her back on level terms with a break back in the sixth game.
After another series of holds, Svitolina took a 5-4 lead before she capitalized on some loose play from the 45th-ranked Kazakh, breaking to 15 as she wrapped up the opening set in 35 minutes after taking five of the last six games.
Svitolina takes late break to secure the win, move on to second round
Both players settled into a nice serving rhythm as each woman held through the first four games without much trouble. It was Shvedova who created the first opportunity, pushing Svitolina to deuce before the Ukranian held for a 3-2 edge.
The two-time Roland Garros quarterfinalist continued to apply the pressure as she had a break point on the fifth seed's next service game, saved by Svitolina. That wasted opportunity proved to be costly to Shvedova as she was broken in the very next game to hand the Rome champion a 5-3 lead with a fine display of offensive tennis.
Serving for the match, Svitolina had to fight off two more break points, using an improving serve that featured more pace on it before finally taking the match on her second break point to notch the victory and reach the second round. Svitolina next faces Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova, a quarterfinalist in Paris last year, in round two.