Elina Svitolina played late into the night to get a victory over a top ten player Friday morning. The 21-year-old Ukrainian got the better of second seeded Garbine Muguruza 7-6, 6-3 on centre court at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
The two met four years ago when their pro careers were just getting started. The Spaniard got the best of the Ukrainian at the Grand Slams in London and Paris but fell out during a WTA even in Wuhan. Things are different on both ends with plenty to show one another. Svitolina had trouble maintaining dominance in her opening round match nearly losing control of the whole match. She saved it in the second set winning five straight to a straight sets win.
Muguruza had a great run last season and performed well at the Australian Open before being shown the exit by Barbora Strycova in the third round. With a need to make a statement on her powerful game, she’ll try to make Svitolina an example in her first game of the tournament.
The two split the first pair of games playing them on the serve before the attacks came into play. The next pair were breaks on one another where it went on as a tradeoff through six. Muguruza ended the breaks and held service in the seventh to gain the lead. Svitolina defended her serve trying to best the second seed on deuce. She got the job done after two breaks of deuce but still had to find a way to overtake the Spaniard and keep her in her rear view mirror.
The Ukrainian had the break in hand in Game Nine but Muguruza saved it on serve forcing deuce. Eight breaks of serve turned the game into a 16 minute and 12 second battle where Svitolina’s first break point of the fight turned into a win on the Spaniard firing the ball into the net. The Ukrainian had the chance to end the set on her own terms. Those terms were being answered by Muguruza who got ahead in the tenth and took it away to force a push onward.
Svitolina got her revenge breaking Muguruza with great rallies in the eleventh taking the lead once again. Just when she had a 30-0 in the 12th, Svitolina committed two big mistakes that allowed the Spaniard to counter attack. She was saved as Muguruza’s big swing got out of control sending the ball wide that delivered a deuce draw. It quickly got back into her hands as Svitolina double faulted before finding herself playing for the set on a tiebreaker with Muguruza firing away first.
She led the way in the first few points until her problems on service changed the tide of the match. Svitolina easily won points on unforced errors and the like that gave her the 7-3 win end the 1 hour and 12 minute set. While both had average percentages on the first set, the difference maker came on unforced errors as Svitolina made 18 while Muguruza exploded with 40 made on court. With so many issues overshadowing her will to win in the set, more changes would need to be made into the second.
Things got started from scratch just minutes from Thursday morning where Svitolina kept her serve in check to take the opening lead. She broke Muguruza who was still rattled from her problems on an unforced error awarding her a third straight. She took a 3-0 hold in the set beating down her opponent while looking firmly in control of things. She ended the winning streak as the Spaniard put something together fighting for a win on deuce that she ultimately got.
Svitolina returned to dominance on serve leading 4-1 with two to go against the world ranked number five player. Muguruza took another lecture from her coach to try and bring things together while she still could. She almost had Svitolina beaten in the sixth with a force of deuce and two breaks but in the end her efforts were silenced for the Ukrainian to serve for the match at 5-1.
Muguruza used great execution while standing on the edge of defeat to press the Ukrainian and continue playing the set. She held service getting her second straight game that started to liven up things on her end to give her a fighter’s chance in the set. Svitolina had the ball back in her hands in the ninth. Dreadful mistakes for Muguruza gave Svitolina two match points with a return from the Spaniard falling long to end the match at 1 hour and 53 minutes.
With the victory in hand, the No. 21 ranked tennis star will take some rest before her next match Thursday night where she’ll play the winner between Coco Vanderweghe and Kristina Mladenovic.