Elina Svitolina lets the doubters doubt
Injury last year meant that the talented Ukrainian could not follow up in the French Open. Whereby, she lost to Simona Halep in the quarterfinals. This season, injury free, Elina Svitolina can more than make her presence felt at Roland-Garros.
The 23-year-old Ukrainian shot-builder undoubtedly has her doubters. There are those who question her mental fortitude for the big occasion. Only injury stood between Elina Svitolina and her first Slam–such was her form going into the French Open last season.
A Disappointing Slam Start This Season
A loss to Elise Mertens at the Australian Open 2018 simply underlines the fact that that is not her best Slam. Mertens was then unbeaten for the season, so in context there was no shame in that defeat. Svitolina is a punch-packer on court, especially on clay. Even though she has, at times, underperformed in the Majors, it’s far too early to write her off.
Halep is the biggest danger to Svitolina
Last year’s French Open defeat to Simona Halep represented Elina Svitolina’s only loss in their four previous meetings. The context of this defeat (often missed when reviewing head-to-heads) is that Elina Svitolina did an amazing job to just turn up. Heavily injured she still took the match to the three full sets.
The Romanian represents a big danger to Svitolina’s Slam mission at the French Open 2018. Svitolina will be able to draw confidence from the 3-1 head-to-head superiority, in her favour.
Svitolina Will aim to be in the Zone for Roland Garros
A prolific tournament winner last season, and two titles this season (Dubai, Brisbane), display Svitolina’s winning drive. However, without a Slam final appearance to her name it’s not enough for someone of this Ukrainian’s calibre.
A disappointing WTA Finals to close last season and below par showing against Suarrez-Navarro in Indian Wells does little to settle the big occasion nerves of Svitolina’s growing following. The big serve tightens up and the abandon with which Svitolina graces the grass roots tournaments is generally left in the locker room, come Slam time. This is something that won’t have been lost on coaches Gabriel Urpi and Thierry Ascione.
A Solid Start in Stuttgart
Svitolina started her clay court season coming through a toughie against 18-year-old Czech Markéta Vondroušová in Stuttgart. The Czech withdrew due to injury in the final set. Svitolina looked solid enough and seems focused on a big push for French Open glory.
French Open could open up for Elina Svitolina
The Ukrainian will use last year’s good display, despite being injured, to galvanize her Roland Garros effort this season. A clay court title or two en route to Roland Garros won’t go amiss, either.