Nights at the Foro Italico can be a bit chilly but world class tennis is guaranteed!
It was about quarter to eight local time so not too late as Azarenka and Svitolina begun their battle in the second round in 2019.
Svitolina won back to back titles in 2017 and 2018 but having a returning champion soo earlier on was problematic draw for Elina and it turned out to be like that…
The defending champion settled very quickly and sealed a break early on in the match finishing a well constructed rally with a volley at the net to lead 3-1.
Azarenka wasn’t behind for too long as the Belarusian grew into the set really finding her groundstrokes and giving as good as she got to level the set.
Between the two they stayed level but after 46 minutes the defending champion constructed some exceptional points to see a set point. A forehand up the line drifted wide from Vika and Svitolina had sealed the opening set.
A forehand error wide up the line proved problematic again but this time for Svitolina who slipped down a break.
It went bad quite quickly after going down a break as Eli suddenly found herself three break points down and went for a bold backhand winner down the line but missed by some margin!
Leading a double break at 4-1 the former major champion quickly extended her lead to 5-1 and for the second consecutive Svitolina service game the Ukrainian was broken to love and lost the set 1-6!
During the match there delays for weather and the third set didn’t begin until around 10:45 local time.
Following a poor put away at the net Vika took her frustrations out on the back wall and went onto be broken. It looked like being a quick nights work from there on in as Svitolina broke again and suddenly led 4-1.
Having struggled with a put away at the beginning of the set it took Vika three attempt but the former world number one got one of her breaks of serve back!
It was lost again as Svitolina pounced to re-extend her lead and would serve for the match against the Belarusian.
A bullet of a backhand down the line put Vika back at 4-5 and Svitolina with another chance to serve it out…
Nothing was straight forward in this match as Svitolina was broken again following a reflex volley and suddenly it was back on serve!
Vika continued her comeback and led in the set for the first time, pressure once again got to Svitolina who slipped match point and a forehand forced error sealed a monumental win for Azarenka with Svitolina quick to leave the court as the clock edged towards midnight!