Semi-finals at Wimbledon and US Open have made a difficult season with injuries and inconsistencies a good one.
Eli Svitolina is now in a race for Shenzhen where she is defending champion. Eli is world number three right now but tenth in the race to Shenzhen which won’t do.
Her runs to semi-finals of the last two majors have been fantastic but have out-lined a problem in her game.
1-6 3-6 defeat to Serena at Flushing Meadows and a reverse 3-6 1-6 defeat to Simona Halep at Wimbledon lead to questions.
I think saying someone in tennis is a ‘good defender’ is a phrase that can get lost. What does it mean? You defend deep, keep the ball going, ask questions and then what?
There needs to be a plan.
Elina has had some very good results to get to back to back semi-finals but then to be effectively brushed aside shows a problem.
I’ve watched back her matches against Serena Williams and Simona Halep and it’s concerning.
It’s amazing what one short and tentative forehand can do and the chaos it can get you into.
Which number is the most concerning?
To be honest, number 1. They all are concerns in open play seconds after hitting a forehand Elina is on the run.
Why? There is a difference between covering ground and chasing ground and she was chasing too much.
Elina digs deep and guides the ball well around the court but doesn’t rip it. She could at that point add extra power down the line or cross court.
Look how short the ball is (number 2) and Halep is lining up her shot before it’s bounced down 15-30 on your own serve.
I mentioned Elina running and chasing ground, because she knew what was coming that forehand down the line from Halep who hit the clean winner.
We can fast-forward to New York;
It got quite messy against Serena…
The slice/drop was bad, Serena saw it coming and was on her bike. Down a set and a break you’d still hope there was some composure in the performance?
Same point, seconds later and this has happened.
There is a problem with her game if she wants to compete at highest level in tennis. She has won big tournaments and won the WTA Finals but her game is lacking strategy.
When I think of Svitolina’s game she defends well but there needs to be more. Look at other players on the WTA tour like Wozniacki and Halep they defend well but have their weapons going forward.
Halep can snap the forehand down the line or the backhand. The Romanian has found a lot of success by biding her time and playing back behind tough opponents. Wozniacki has built a career on defending well but also having strong weapons going forward.
Elina does have strong weapons, she can lean into the backhand and has that snap rotation on the forehand cross court which we didn’t see but why not?
This defensive stand was the set theme and I didn’t get why, even with break point opportunities she was still hesitant.
It is there on her racket but finding it and bringing it together is an issue. We saw it at the WTA Finals where she didn’t blow players off the court but used her defensive skills and ground strokes to apply pressure and force errors.
After her semi-final defeat Svitolina in her press conference said;
“I need to improve everything”