Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Svitolina into third round

11th seed Elina Svitolina faced 119 ranked American qualifier Julia Boserup in second round action in the first Margaret Court Arena match on Day Three of Aus Open 2017.
The Ukraine's Svitolina had made light work of Voskoboeva in round one, losing just two games, while Boserup had disposed of 2010 Roland Garros champ Francesca Schiavone in straight sets.  Today would be a tougher ask for Julia.

The American began well, holding serve for the loss of a single point and pushing Elina to break point with a pair of winning forehands before Svitolina steadied for 1-1.
Julia raced to 40-0 before a double fault and a series of unforced blunders gave up her serve and the lead to the eleventh seed.

Elina kindly gave it back though and at 2-2 the match was still an even contest.  Then Svitolina changed up a gear or two, winning the next three games including breaking Boserup twice.

Serving for the set at 5-2, Elina couldn't complete the job, Julia drawing from her reserves of resolve displayed so well earlier.  A strong service hold threw the responsibility back again onto the shoulders of Svitolina to attempt to wrap up the set with her not so authoritative serve.

A timely ace for 30-0 and she was half way there.  Coming to the net to put away a forehand at 40-0 signalled the end of the set and a 6-4 lead to Elina.

A volley put away and a screaming winner down the line helped Svitolina achieve a break in the opening game of set two.  Julia repeated the volley which won Elina a point the game before and a backhand return crosscourt was past Elina almost before she had completed the serve.  It assisted in creating one of several break points, all but one of which Svitolina was able to squash with some brilliance of her own thrown in for good measure.

Watching this unfold, it would be difficult believing that over 100 ranking spots separated the two.  This single game alone was more captivating than some complete first round matches.

And the next created still more drama as Boserup attempted to hold serve.  She couldn't, and that was the third game in a row where the server failed.  The tennis remained highly watchable though.

Svitolina held on grimly, pulling out a couple of scintillating groundstrokes for winners and extend her lead to 3-1.  An untimely double fault from Boserup gave Svitolina a break point for double break - that was saved, but a volley winner gave her a second chance which arrived thanks to a shot floating long from Boserup.

At 6-4 4-1 and a serve to come, the victory appeared assured for Elina.
Now we could see where the rankings difference matters - consistency over the course of a match.  Perhaps not over 100 spots but significant at least.

At 1-5 and Adv Svitolina, Boserup saved a match point.  She couldn't save the next however as she helplessly watched another return winner sail past her.

Elina Svitolina also sailed - into the third round 6-4 6-1. 

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