Both Elina Svitolina and Johanna Konta will fancy their chances when they take to Arthur Ashe early on Tuesday, looking to book their second slam semi-final of the year. A resurgent Serena Williams is the likely opponent there but Qiang Wang will be hoping to spoil the party.
Something does look to have clicked over the past two slams for Svitolina, who has often struggled at them. She has backed up her Wimbledon semi final with at least a quarter here, showcasing some stellar defensive player in the process. After helping Dayana Yastremska self destruct in round three, she was even better in round four – defeating one of the tour’s form players. More impressively, she didn’t face a break point against the American under the New York lights. “I was just trying to stay focused from the first point to the last point,” Svitolina said. “Madison is a very powerful player, so you have to be at your best all the time and react very quickly. There was also lots of people, and the night sessions are very intense. So you have to bring your best game. It happened for me today, and I’m happy that it happened actually in the fourth round, and I’m finally in the quarterfinal here.”
Konta has also been a revelation this year at slams, often looking like the star player that burst onto the scene a few years ago. Up against a very lopsided head to head with Karolina Pliskova, she added one to her score with an impressive three set victory. She held firm against a 16 ace onslaught from the Czech while hitting 45 winners of her own in the 6-7 6-3 7-5 victory. She picked up the solitary break of the decider at 5-5 to move on but not before facing a break point herself.
After defeating two of the biggest serving players between them, this should definitely very be much more of a grinding affair for the duo. The one criticism aimed at Konta for much of the year has been to do with her dealing with pressure as the tournament goes deeper. Winnable clashes at Roland Garros and Wimbledon went by the wayside, something that may well be building up in her mind as the match goes on.
Svitolina is 3-0 in the matchup but still knows it will be tough. “She’s a very tough opponent. She strikes the ball very good, and I have to react very quickly with my feet. Like today, I have to stay very solid from the baseline. I know a bit what to expect. I have been practicing a little bit with her. I have to step on court and be focused on my game. That’s my goal for the next match.” she said of Konta.
Prediction- Elina Svitolina in three sets