After some rough losses at recent slams, expectations for Elina Svitolina are a bit lower despite the Ukrainian coming into the tournament as the third seed. She does have the credentials for grass as her semi final run two years ago showed but that next step has been difficult for her. Magda Linette won’t be an easy opponent for her but should be one who is dealt with minimum fuss if she is to be a contender.
Linette does still struggle with consistency but does look a much improved player over the 18 months. Her 2021 saw her follow a five match losing streak with a Strasbourg semi final and a Roland Garros win over Ashleigh Barty – though admittedly by retirement while the Pole was a set up. Her first round win here came against Amanda Anisimova, hitting 36 winners in the 2-6 6-3 6-1 comeback victory.
Svitolina also played a tough three setter, defeating a spirited Alison Van Uytvanck 6-3 2-6 6-3. Both players looked in good shape but it was Svitolina that held her nerve at the end, breaking in each of her last three return games for the win. “I was striking the ball really good. On important moments, I think I was calm and my shots were quite good in the end. Just happy the way I was tracking the ball and that I could hold my nerves. This was very important for me today.” she said afterwards.
Svitolina does hold a 2-0 record over Linette, although both of those matches were on clay courts. She should edge this one if she keeps to the level shown in much of round one. She was impressive on return and should be able to frustrate her opponent if she goes too aggressive. Without a Serena Williams waiting in the quarter finals, Svitolina really should be eyeing a repeat of her last run here.
Prediction – Elina Svitolina in straight sets