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Ana produced another accomplished display as she dismantled world No.33 Elina Svitolina 7-5, 6-2 in round two of the French Open. The Ukrainian was the highest unseeded player at this tournament and provided a firm test during the opening set, but eventually fell short to Ana’s powerful strokes in one hour and eleven minutes.
It wasn’t the start that Ana had hoped for on the Philippe Chatrier court. The former world No.1 surrendered her serve in the opening game as Svitolina fired a return winner on the third occasion but, to her credit, the 11th seed set things straight immediately: Ana won nine consecutive points as she undid the break and even moved 3-1 ahead, breaking the Svitolina serve two times in a row.
But Svitolina, champion at the French Open junior tournament in 2010, fully lived up to the high expectations that were set before the match. She showed her fighting qualities and reeled off three games to take a 4-3 lead, also partly due to a couple of unforced errors from Ana’s racket at this stage of the match.
Luckily, Ana quickly re-found her range. She levelled at 4-4 and after holding serve in the next game, she was two points away from clinching the opening set in game ten. It was not until the 12th game that the 26-year-old managed to score the decisive breakthrough, but she did it in convincing style, rifling a forehand winner down-the-line.
Once Ana had wrapped up the opening set, she entirely settled and every facet of her game clicked into place. Her serve did the necessary damage to the Ukrainian’s bulwark, ensuring an 80 per cent first serve accuracy and winning all of the points on her second. Moreover, she was returning extremely aggressively.
Ana ripped three return winners to set up three break opportunities in the second game of set two and as Svitolina, while under high pressure, threw in a double fault, the gap on the scoreboard increased.
Ana held serve comfortably throughout the set and was no longer troubled for the rest of the match. She added a second break in the 10th game as she capitalized upon her second match point to book her place in round three.
“The first set was very tight from both sides,” said Ana. “I was really happy to hold my nerves in the end of that first set and then sort of pick up my intensity and rhythm in the second.”
“She's a very dangerous opponent”, Ana said about the 19-year-old Svitolina. “I think she has a good future in front of her. She still needs to mature and get more consistent, but her strokes are very powerful and she has a very, very dangerous game.”
Ana will play Lucie Safarova from the Czech Republic in the third round on Saturday after the world No. 24 beat Australia’s Casey Dellaqua 6-1, 5-7, 6-3.
By Joeri Moerman