It’s been quite the year for Elina Svitolina.
She has had some very good results but also a tough time. Following her run to the semi-finals at Indian Wells the Ukrainian went on a 10 week period without a win. During that time she did miss some tennis with a leg injury but on return couldn’t put results together.
At Roland Garros she looked sharp against Venus Williams in a straight sets round one victory before a slip up against Muguruza who I haven’t seen hit like she had for some time.
Wimbledon came and Eli surprised us all. I described her time in London as ‘opportunity knocks.’ Eli was down and out against Gasparyan but sadly for the Russian she got injured and couldn’t continue. Next match she sailed close to the wind against Maria Sakkari as well but came through.
Eli made it to the semi-finals where she couldn’t keep up with Simona Halep. It was brutal but let’s be honest no one could keep up with Simona Halep at Wimbledon she was a woman on a mission.
Form since Wimbledon?
4 wins, 3 defeats coming into New York and there wasn’t a big challenge in the defeats.
Did anyone expect Elina to pick up form in New York? No, but I’m pleased she has.
In a word Eli has been ruthless.
Venus, Yastremska, Konta & Keys all defeated without a set dropped. She is serving soo well, better than ever maybe?
I think she has had a very good season. Even before her 10 week blip of no wins she made the quarter finals in Melbourne followed by back to back to back semi-final appearances in Dubai, Doha and Indian Wells.
It’s been quite a ride to first semi-final at Wimbledon and now in New York but how does she go a step further?
Serena and Elina haven’t played each other for three years. Serena leads the head to head at 4-1 but Elina won their last meeting at the Olympics in 2016 in straight sets.
Svitolina does have a knack for getting involved in rallies, that’s a given. She’s hard working but I feel at times needs to be more smart.
Halep gave her the run around and that will be in her mind slightly going into this but I didn’t feel like she helped the situation just played into her hands. Bring some slice in and mix it up.
Serena has been hitting the ball so cleanly and that performance against Wang we wouldn’t have learned much from but the brutality of it shows where her game is at.
Eli has lost 15 matches this year;
- 2 from a set up
- 8 in straight sets
- 5 in three sets (winning the second)
She hasn’t been rolled over regularly but the manner of some of the straight set defeats is a slight worry but she has fought from a set down on five occasions but still lost.
Svitolina’s game speaks for itself. She defends well, digs deep and covers ground. The serve if she is going to stand a chance has to stand up against Serena.
Naturally she will look for the centre service line with the serve hoping for a short ball back. I don’t think on the deuce side serving into Serena’s backhand will be smart choice but the second serve worries me.
You might think, why? Eli won 18/30 points (60%) against Konta with her second serve but Serena will take it on, she did the same to Muchova and it took the 23 year olds game apart.
Eli’s first serve was around 95-102mph, second serve dropped to 70-77mph. At times a 20mph drop off and it sat up soo nicely so that will be a concern but a fascinating match-up awaits.