Svitolina secures third round spot with comeback win

UKRAINIAN Elina Svitolina fought back from a set down to knock off Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and reach the third round of the US Open. Svitolina went down 7-5 in the first set, but dug deep and came away from the match with a 5-7 6-4 6-4 victory in two hours and 47 minutes.

In a powerful performance, the former world number three served 10 aces and hit 41 winners, while also being a little erratic at times with nine double faults. She was able to control play when approaching the net against the Russian, winning 16 of 20 points upon approach, and though she could not convert her break point chances, did enough to get the win.

Svitolina broke four times from a whopping 15 chances, while Pavlyuchenkova only had the six opportunities, but made more of them with three breaks. She was a little less controlled in her play however, hitting seven double faults – to three aces – and 45 unforced errors – to 31 winners – in the match.

“I couldn’t really control as much as I wanted because there was lot of mistakes, lot of fault from my side, her side. It was, like, up and down,” Svitolina said post-match. “Just in the end I’m happy that I could stay in that second set, served well in some good moments.

“For sure, to get through these kind of matches is great because not playing so well, almost thinking you’re not going to win. Finally get that win, it was nice feeling.”

Svitolina is currently 26th in the world having made an incredible rise up the rankings since returning from maternity leave. Her opponent has also missed a large chunk of time and Pavlyuchenkova is currently 98th in the world after hitting her career-high at 11th.

Svitolina will play third seed American Jessica Pegula in the Round of 32, and managed to avenge the loss to compatriot Lesia Tsurenko who went down to another Russian in Ekaterina Alexandrova. The last remaining Australian’s in the women’s draw also bowed out with Daria Saville losing to world number one Iga Swiatek in straight sets, while Ajla Tomljanovic withdrew from her match against Grand Slam champion Elena Rybakina.

In the men’s singles, top ranked Australian Alex de Minaur crushed China’s Yibing Wu in straight sets, dropping just four games in an 87-minute rout, while local hope Michael Mmoh came from two sets to love down to knock off retiring countryman John Isner in three hours and 57 minutes, 3-6 4-6 7-6 6-4 7-6.

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