Elina Svitolina had the right stuff to get through her first match of the 2016 Australian Open Tuesday. The young Ukrainian dealt with some force from American Victoria Duval in straight sets but still managed to win 6-2, 6-3 on Court 15 at Melbourne Park.
The two had never met before but with plenty on the line, the 20 year olds will go for it all to make it to the second round. The Ukrainian played at Sydney for just a came where she gave Angelique Kerber plenty of fight. Though she lost the battle in three sets, Svitolina had plenty of time to prepare for the Grand Slam. She competed in the Hopman Cup where she led her country in scoring.
The American was in her first tournament getting through qualifications to be in this position. She has been in Grand Slams before but with very little action in recent weeks, the Florida native will have her hands full against Svitolina.
She took the first two games sweeping Duval on serve before winning the triple break. By Game Three, the American had something to show pushing out to 40-15 until the Ukrainian clawed back. Duval held through for four breaks before gaining her first win in what was the longest of the match.
The two traded off wins to seven games but it was Svitolina who had a 5-2 lead in the set to get in position for control of the match. Duval served up in the eighth hoping that her ability to compete would keep her standing. It did not as her unforced errors jumped Svitolina into a set point where the win came on a double fault from the American ending the first set in 26 minutes.
The start of the second didn’t go as easy due to the resilient fight from Duval trying to stop her opponent’s dictation of the match so far. Her response on the return turned into a fight on deuce that went through six breaks until one broke form. In the end it was the Ukrainian who held firm under the pressure to get the victory after ten minutes of play.
Duval evened up with a better response on deuce keeping things light to win on the break. She kept the pattern going with Svitolina as she fought every point possible even when it meant forcing deuce. Svitolina led 2-1 after the third straight break. Duval got even after four with another draw on deuce that she found a way to win in.
The fights on deuce were over for Svitolina as she made good use on serve to hold the American back and win it outright. An unforced error by the Ukrainian in the sixth gave Duval a familiar place to play in as she fought strong to win on the break of deuce getting even. Svitolina had enough of playing games on deuce and took the next pair in stride to serve for the match.
She allowed Duval one point before sealing the win with a double match point that ended with an ace on the line ending things in one hour and nine minutes. Svitolina had great success on her first serve landing 31 of 46 and four of six break points won against Duval. While she didn’t keep the unforced errors low, the 21 year old had 18 winners on court to finish her first round as best as to be expected. She would await the winner between Donna Vekic and Naomi Osaka in the second round scheduled for Thursday.