Elina Svitolina will look to move one step closer to a first slam on Friday when she faces Ekaterina Alexandrova for a spot in the fourth round. Svitolina remains a very strong clay court player and looks the best option to make the semi finals from her quarter, with several top players exiting the tournament already.
Alexandrova’s rise up the rankings came late last year as she used her power game to good effect on indoor hard courts to pick up a number of the titles. The Russian’s game is generally less effective on clay courts as losses in Strasbourg and Rome showed. She was somewhat fortunate to get a route to this stage that consisted of Maddison Inglis and Astra Sharma, neither of which have much of a record on the surface. She did deal with the pair with a minimum of fuss though, picking up to 6-3 6-3 wins.
Svitolina’s best tennis has came in the opening and closing stages of both her matches so far. She rushed into 4-0 leads in the opening sets against both Varvara Gracheva and Renata Zarazua only to find herself back on serve against both in first sets she eventually won. Zarazua did reel off a 6-0 second set against her in round two but the No.3 showed her mettle to fight back and it was eventually easy for her against the Mexican, closing the match out 6-3 0-6 6-2. “Honestly, I’m still questioning myself because it was a bit of a drop. I don’t remember much of the second set… It’s very tough to say. I was going maybe for too much. In the end when I was playing really good, I was playing aggressive, I was going for my shots. Maybe a few mistakes here and there. Then in the end she was quite solid from the baseline, took her chances, didn’t miss so much.” she said afterwards.
Svitolina’s level of opponent does go up a notch with Alexandrova seeded at this draw. However, Alexandrova does not look the type of player ready to beat a strong clay court player at this level – especially with conditions still not too favourable to her style. Svitolina will be eager to put up a much more consistent performance and avoid being dragged into a scrap with a power player.
Prediction – Elina Svitolina in straight sets