There was a moment at Roland Garros where Elina Svitolina had the label of favourite. Following exits of Halep and Pliskova amongst other contenders the third seed was the highest seed left standing in the final eight.
After dismantling Caroline Garica in the fourth round next up was Nadia Podoroska, the Argentine qualifier ranked at 131 in the world was on the run of her life and took apart Eli Svitolina outlining the Ukrainian’s issues once again against in-form players in majors.
Since the start of 2017, it has been good up to a point in majors and that is in-form players and the results aren’t good reading…
French Open 2017 – Quarter Final – 6-3 6-7 0-6 vs Simona Halep
Australian Open 2018 – Quarter Final – 4-6 0-6 vs Elise Mertens
Australian Open 2019 – Quarter Final – 4-6 1-6 vs Naomi Osaka
Wimbledon 2019 – Semi Finals – 1-6 3-6 vs Simona Halep
US Open 2019 – Semi Finals – 3-6 1-6 vs Serena Williams
Australian Open 2020 – Third Round – 1-6 2-6 vs Garbine Muguruza
French Open 2020 – Quarter Final – 2-6 4-6 vs Nadia Podoroska
The defeats are one-sided, back end of last year I said making back to back semi-finals in a major is good for Eli after her runs at Wimbledon and the US Open but the manner of her defeats were soo one-sided.
Since 2017 we have seen Eli go out in the final eight four times and final four twice, during those six matches she has won a set against Simona Halep in Paris and lost 12 consecutive sets of tennis. 76 sets of tennis lost and 35 won, it’s not even comparable.
Even more fascinating, the quarter final exit to Simona Halep in 2017 actually saw Elina Svitolina take a 6-3 5-1 lead and lost the match.
So, what is going wrong?
Right now I don’t think the pieces are there to win a Grand Slam title, getting to at least the final eight of four of the last six events is good but I think there are players who offer a bit more.
Elina is a player likes to camp a little on the baseline and provide a stubborn defence but the problem is opponents who posses a bit more power aren’t intimidate and have the weapons to turn the match into one way traffic.
The achievement of back to back semi-finals is all good at a major which is what she achieved last year but you always need to see the bigger picture. The manner of the defeats are not that of a champion and I think that making the final four covered over the cracks.
I think once everything is pulling in the same direction Eli will contend at majors, she was the champion at WTA Finals in 2018 and runner-up in 2019 but beating the best and the in-form players outside of the WTA Finals has proved a problem.
8 of her last 9 top ten ranked wins have been at the WTA Finals and a shorter 2020 than usual also means it is the first year since 2013 she hasn’t recorded a win against a top ten player.