Despite being a top 8 seed, expectations were not high for Elina Svitolina coming into Wimbledon but she now has a very live chance of making the final in the bottom half of the draw. If she can beat Karolina Muchova on Thursday, she will then face Simona Halep or Shuai Zhang for a chance to make her first slam final.
There was going to be a Czech Karolina in this matchup regardless but very few would have predicted it for to Muchova instead of Pliskova. Pliskova was in great form having won Eastbourne but Muchova showed great determination to come through in a marathon encounter, eventually winning 4-6 7-5 13-11 in 3 hours and 19 minutes. With Muchova down 11-10 in the decider, she broke to love to stay in the match before completing the victory with another break two games later. “I never played such a long match, I think not even on clay,” Muchova said afterwards. “It was tough. I was happy I could make last game to break her and we didn’t have to play a tiebreak.”
Svitolina had been in bad form since her return from injury after Miami, losing five first round matches from six tournaments – only winning a match at the French Open. She had a bit of fortune when Margarita Gasparyan had to retire in their second round match but has looked improved in the two rounds after with wins against Maria Sakkari and Petra Martic. After edging a tight first set, she pulled away in the second on her way to a 6-4 6-2 victory over the Croatian.
It’s been a shock for Svitolina who wouldn’t have had high hopes coming into the event. “I didn’t really expect at the beginning of the tournament. Really when I go into Wimbledon, I don’t have any expectations. It’s very not different, but just I say tougher for me to play here before. I didn’t really play well here before, so I had no expectations going into this tournament.” she said. She takes on an opponent whom she beat comfortably back in Doha, winning 6-4 6-2 in the quarter finals.
The Ukranian is likely to appreciate the matchup with Muchova much more than the power wielded by Pliskova. “She’s not as a typical young player, because most of the players now that are coming up, they are smashing the ball. She has lots of variety in her game, and that’s, I think, very good for tennis.” she assessed following that matchup back in February.
Prediction – Elina Svitolina in straight sets