Thursday, 8 June 2017

Can Halep be stopped ?

Elina Svitolina was within a millimetre of a semi final of Roland Garros 2017 but had her heart broken by a super resilient third seed Simona Halep.

Svitolina, the winner of more titles this year than any other female, played incredible tennis in the first set, leaving favourite Halep lost for any answer.
The powerful forehand was dynamite, leading to 10 of the Ukrainian 5th seed's 13 winners in an authoritative 6-3 display which was only an entree to what was to come in the next six games.

Elina lit up the Paris skies with five of the first six games of set two and things looked more than forlorn for Halep. Then a switch was dramatically turned.  
The Romanian held serve to momentarily keep the match alive, then at 30-30, serving for the match, Svitolina was dealt two backhand winners by Halep for a break and at 3-5 Simona now knew she had a chance.

Serving again for a semi final spot at 5-4, Elina failed, producing three poor forehands before a winning forehand from Halep squared the set at 5-5.
Eventually it was Svitolina who had to struggle to a tie break, saving three set points in the process.

The tie break was a tense process of twist and turns with first Svitolina earning a match point after two sensational winners, one off each wing.  It was saved with a backhand winner from Halep, assisted by the net.

Svitolina threw in a loose forehand and a Halep forehand winner then won her the set 8 points to 6.
Svitolina was shattered.  The decider was a whitewash and Simona Halep is in another Roland Garros semi final 3-6 7-6 (6) 6-0.

The next hurdle is second seed Karolina Pliskova whose straight sets victory over the last French player left in the draw, Caroline Garcia, was hard fought 7-6 6-4.
Pliskova wasted a chance to serve for the first set at 5-4 and had to tough it out in a difficult tie break.

The second set was on serve until Garcia fell at 4-5 to three clean winners from the Czech racquet and the match was over.

How Pliskova will deal with her first outing on clay at semi final level will be intriguing, especially with Halep rejoicing in her epic comeback.

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