Rome: Svitolina Rolls Into The Quarterfinals
Svitolina dismantles Muguruza 6-4, 6-2 to reach the quarters in Rome
Elina Svitolina, world #5, took on the two-time grand slam champion and world #12 Garbine Muguruza in the round-of-16 at the Foro Italico. This was their 12th tour-level meeting and while Svitolina led the overall head-to-head 6-5, Muguruza led 2-1 on the dirt.
Svitolina, from Ukraine, served first and quickly held at love with a forehand drop volley winner. Muguruza, from Spain and the 2021 Dubai Champion, quickly came under the gun and dropped serve when her opponent executed an outstanding slice forehand drop shot.
Despite hitting an ace up the tee, Svitolina was unable to consolidate the break and dumped serve when Muguruza crushed the backhand return crosscourt.
Muguruza could not level the set as she missed 7/10 first serves including a foot fault. Although she struck her first ace, she received a time violation warning following an exceptionally long and enthralling rally which she lost when her forehand went wide.
Svitolina, once again up a break at 3-1, could not consolidate and dropped serve when her opponent ripped a backhand down the line. The pattern continued as Muguruza failed to consolidate the break, dropping serve at love following a double fault and a netted backhand on consecutive points.
Svitolina, serving up 4-2, once again gave it back, dumping serve at love following a fantastic inside-in forehand winner from Muguruza and an unforced error on game point. Muguruza, a former world #1, broke the pattern as she held easily to 15 for 4-4.
Svitolina hit her third double fault and second ace and held to 30 for 5-4. For the lions’ share of the first set, the twenty-six-year-old from Ukraine utilized her formidable defensive skills and court positioning to dominate most of the long rallies. Muguruza, twenty-seven years of age, quickly faced double break and set points following two forehand errors and lost serve when her inside-out forehand sailed long.
Svitolina served first in the second and held to 30 for 1-0. Muguruza began with an overhead smash, an ace up the tee and a huge serve out wide on game point for 1-1. Svitolina started the third game with a spectacular inside-out forehand but soon faced two break points following an extraordinary backhand drop shot from her opponent. Muguruza converted with an incredible forehand down the line that Svitolina failed to reach.
The Spaniard, up a break at 2-1, opened with an ace but could not consolidate as the unforced errors continued to accrue including a double fault on game point. Level at 2-2, Svitolina unloaded with a monster inside-in forehand and held to 30 for 3-2 when her opponent overcooked the forehand return.
Muguruza, clearly frustrated from giving back the break, was frequently on her heels as Svitolina continued to strike the ball with authority as well as touch. The world #5 hit a deft slice backhand drop shot, massive backhand down the line and inside-in forehand to earn and convert the break point.
Svitolina, all cylinders firing, emphatically consolidated the break, holding at love for 5-2 with a second serve ace! Muguruza, serving to stay in the match, appeared dejected and dismayed as she quickly faced 0-40, triple match point and lost the game and match when she netted a backhand.
Elina Svitolina was clutch while navigating the frequent swings of momentum in this 4th round match. She served adequately, winning 60% of first and 52% of second serve points. She hit more than double the number of winners to errors and converted 7/8 break points. These stats should bolster her confidence as she takes on the reigning French Open champion, 19-year-old, Iga Swiatek for the first time in the quarterfinals.