Kicking off the night session on Rod Laver Arena on Saturday is an intriguing match between Elina Svitolina and two-time slam winner Garbine Muguruza. Winning four of the last five to lead the head to head at 6-4, the Ukrainian will be feeling confident coming into this one in a slam she is a legitimate contender for. The lone victory in five for the Spaniard came at Roland Garros, where she took advantage of Svitolina’s injury struggles to advance to the fourth round.
Muguruza has suffered some disastrous results in recent years and looks far from the player that won French Open and Wimbledon titles as well as achieving the No.1 ranking. Ranked No.32, she came into the tournament unseeded and hasn’t looked particularly special in the first two rounds. She won three setters against Shelby Rogers and Ajla Tomljanovic to get this far but will need to up her game against a much stronger opponent in round three. “I was ready for a battle. She did push me and I pushed her. At the end on the third set, it was very close for both of us. I was just happy the way I played and how I managed to close it up on those, in those final games.” she said afterwards.
Svitolina has been professional through her first two matches, toughing out a straight sets win against Lauren Davis in round two despite being down 3-5 in the second set. “It was very tough. It’s always tough to play against Lauren. She always gives you one extra ball. You have to move your feet well to adjust to her flat shots. I was moving well today” she said. The No.5 seed will be happy to get some wins under her belt after her sole warmup match ended in quick fashion against Danielle Collins in Brisbane.
Svitolina remains one of the premiere defenders on tour and should fancy her chances against an opponent that is a shadow of her best. The matchup has always favoured her on hard courts where she has better nullified the attacking prowess of the Spaniard, even at her best. With Kiki Bertens likely up next, Svitolina remains a legitimate contender to at least make the semi finals but it would be no surprise to see her go even further.
Prediction – Elina Svitolina in straight sets