Elina Svitolina in the third round of Roland Garros, 2018
Elina Svitolina in the third round of Roland Garros, 2018 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Roland Garros 2018 | Favourite Svitolina out in R3: ‘I couldn’t fight through tough moments’

By Ros Satar, in Paris

  • Mihaela Buzarnescu [31] def. Elina Svitolina [4] 6-3 7-5
  • Svitolina still to advance further than a quarter-final at Slams
PARIS, FRANCE – One of the favourites to win a maiden Slam here, Elina Svitolina was stunned in the third round by Mihaela Buzarnescu.


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Mihaela Buzarnescu [31] def. Elina Svitolina [4] 6-3 7-5

If lead up tournaments, and indeed if consistency on the tour was an indicator, Elina Svitolina would have been coasting into Week Two of Roland Garros and was certainly one of the hot favourites to win the title.

She came into the French Open off the back of a title defence in Rome – a surface that mirrors the kinds of conditions you can find in Paris. When the weather is fair, the balls can fly quickly. When it is overcast and cold (which is has been a lot this week) then the conditions are claggy.

Mihaela Buzarnescu in the third round of Roland Garros, 2018
Mihaela Buzarnescu in the third round of Roland Garros, 2018 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photgraphy

Slow starts in those conditions are hellishly hard to overcome, with WTA fast-riser up the rankings, Mihaela Buzarnescu taking advantage with an early break, adding insult to injury by breaking for the first set. It was a lot more competitive and edgy with braces of breaks being traded, rafts of break points being saved, but the final cut was another break for the match.

It is hard not to shake the believe that Svitolina has been around for ever. Steady and consistent, she has proved herself time and time again on at a tour level. It is not even as if getting to quarter-finals is a bad thing – again it demonstrates a level of consistency many would give their racquet bag for.

Yet I can’t help feeling that before long, this might start to weigh heavy on the Ukrainian’s mind if she cannot turn this around. This was one of the Slams she stood the best chance of making that particular breakthrough.

She said, in her post-match press-conference: “I didn’t know much about her because she raised really quickly. I watched little bit video of her playing, so I knew little bit what to expect.

”But, you know, today, you know, really I was off and couldn’t find my rhythm, my game today, and was really struggling. In the other hand, she was playing great tennis. You know, she was really, really on the ball today. And, you know, I couldn’t do much today to get a win. It was not enough.”

She added: “I wish I could play better. I wish I could move better and, you know, do the better selection of shots. But unfortunately, today it was, yeah, it was tough, and I couldn’t fight through the tough moments.”

With that loss that section of the draw opens up nicely for Buzarnescu who faces Madison Keys [13] next, with a feisty encounter coming up between Yulia Putintseva (who put Johanna Konta out in the opening round) and 26th seed Barbora Strycova.

But for Svitolina it is back to the drawing board, as she looks ahead to the grass court season.

She said: “I’m going to have some time off now to recover physically. Of course, after Grand Slam, I like to take time off to recover mentally as well. It’s very important. And then train on grass. Hopefully I can get a wildcard to Birmingham because I forgot to sign in. So hopefully Birmingham is the plan and then Wimbledon.”

WTA Birmingham takes place between 16-24 June.


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