French Open: Elina Svitolina gets past tricky opening round

Elina Svitolina overcame a slow start and eventually prevailed in a tough win over Yaroslava Shvedova, triumphing in straight sets.

French Open: Elina Svitolina gets past tricky opening round
Elina Svitolina moves on to the second round | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe
Elina Svitolina
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Yaroslava Shvedova

Title favourite Elina Svitolina got off to a great start to her French Open campaign as she managed to get past the dangerous and tricky Yaroslava Shvedova in straight sets, prevailing after just 76 minutes of play. The Ukrainian looked shaky at times, but was solid in her play and managed to triumph eventually.

Svitolina mounts a comeback

Svitolina had the best possible start to the match as Shvedova hit a couple of backhand errors in the opening game to gift the Ukrainian the comfortable service hold and get her on board. Shvedova followed suit as she also had an easy hold to 15, proving that she could do better. Unexpectedly, it was the underdog who made the first breakthrough in the match as some impressive offensive play brought the first service break for her, taking the early lead as she looked poised for the upset early on.

Elina Svitolina waits to return a serve | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe
Elina Svitolina waits to return a serve | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe

Despite looking wobbly on her groundstrokes, Shvedova was not overwhelmed by her own unforced errors as she still managed to consolidate the break and extend her lead on the scoreboard to two games. It was at that moment when Svitolina started to mount a comeback, holding her serve comfortably before breaking straight back with some consistent and solid groundstrokes.

Svitolina then regained the lead for the first time since the opening game as she looked to be more comfortable on the clay courts of Paris. Despite losing the momentum, Shvedova did not lose faith. She still continued to hold on and keep up her level of tennis, holding her serve to keep the scores level at 4-4. Unable to deal with the pressure while serving to stay in the set, Shvedova’s game crumbled as Svitolina stepped up her game and powered herself to winning the first set 6-4 after just 34 minutes.

Elina Svitolina hits a forehand | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe
Elina Svitolina hits a forehand | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe

Shvedova puts up a tough fight

Svitolina had the perfect start to the second set as she comfortably held her serve in the opening game, looking on course to close out the match in straight sets. However, Shvedova showed that she was not going down without a fight as the Kazakhstani proved that she could also do the same by securing her service game. The first real opportunity to break serve in the second set came in the fifth game as it was Shvedova who managed to get to deuce in Svitolina’s service game, but was unable to find a break point in the whole game.

The higher-ranked player then made the first breakthrough at the most crucial moment in the set as she stepped up her game and started to play some amazing offensive tennis, breaking serve for a 5-3 lead as she was just one game away from clinching the victory. Saving two break points with two winners while serving for the match, Svitolina put in some big serves to eventually seal the win after just 1 hour and 16 minutes.

Yaroslava Shvedova in action | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe
Yaroslava Shvedova in action | Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images Europe

Tennis