Elina Svitolina withstood a second-set fightback to defeat Madison Keys 6-2 1-6 6-1 and progress to the Australian Open quarter-final for the second successive year.
The Ukrainian, 24, lost both her previous meetings with the American, including an exciting last-16 clash at the 2017 US Open that also went the distance.
However, she was determined to win this time, and she produced some excellent tennis in the first and third sets to make it happen.
“I played good tennis today,” Svitolina said in her post-match interview. “Madison played great in the second set, so I had to raise my level. I was really happy I handled the pressure at one-all in the third set.”
Svitolina made a great start to the match. She played a variety of shots that rushed Keys and forced into all sorts of uncomfortable positions.
By contrast, the American could not seem to get going. She kept going for big shots and missing the court.
Consequently, the World No.17 made 11 unforced errors in the set. Svitolina, on the other hand, remained consistent throughout and wrapped up the first set 6-2 in just 31 minutes.
Keys storms back in set two
On some occasions in the past, Keys has struggled when a first set has gone that badly for her. But this time she quickly found her range in the second set and soon turned the match around.
It began with an easy hold. Then the American unleashed a series of huge groundstrokes to break the Ukrainian in the game.
In the third game, Keys had to work a bit harder to hold, but it did not seem to do her any harm as she proceeded to take apart Svitolina’s serve and break her to love to move 4-0 ahead.
The World No.6 finally got on the scoreboard in the set in the sixth game, but the set did not last much longer as the American held twice more with ease to close out the set 6-1.
Keys’ stats for the second set are very impressive: she hit 16 winners, made just five unforced errors, won 77% of all points behind her serve and won 27 of the 38 points played.
Svitolina produces her best tennis when it matters most
In the first game of the decider, Svitolina raised her game to hold. However, she soon found her serve under intense pressure again as the American took her to deuce an incredible 11 times in game three.
The Ukrainian managed to save three break points (one of them with a brilliant forehand on the stretch), and Keys wasted a couple more, before the World No.6 eventually hung on for what would prove to be a crucial hold.
After she failed to break, the World No.17 played a loose game on her own serve and suddenly found herself 3-1 down.
Svitolina celebrated the break enthusiastically and looked confident from that point on. She came in and finished a couple of points clinically during a comfortable hold of serve, and then worked Keys around the court intelligently to earn another break and give herself the chance to serve for the match at 5-1.
The Ukrainian made no mistake. She played a couple more excellent points during the game to secure the hold she needed to finish the match and seal her place in the last eight.
Federer And Nadal: Their History In 40 Photos
Forty matches, forty pictures. The match Federer and Nadal are playing today could be their last one on grass.
Let’s see what’s happened before, in pictures.
1 – Miami, 3T: Nadal b. Federer 6–3 6–3
2019 French Open: Where The ‘Fedal’ Twain Shall Meet Again
The re-igniting of the Fedal rivalry at the French Open has renewed implications, going beyond the event itself
For a while now, make that years’ worth, we have been waiting for a Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal clash at the US Open. The draws have been made, either they have been grouped in the same half – and one has fallen short – or they have happened to be in different halves entirely, and have never met.
One reason for the higher-than-usual (in the last couple of years) pangs to see Fedal square-off in New York is because of how each of their meetings in the three other Majors has been. We have seen Nadal end Federer’s reign as the favourite at Wimbledon, and the Australian Open. The first result coming about after multiple attempts while achieving the second, in a far easier manner.
But it is what we have had the opportunity to see in Roland Garros that has kept this rivalry distinct and blazing, impervious to time passing by. Twelve of their previous 38 matches have come at the three Majors. Five of these 12 meetings have come by in Paris, four in finals and once in that fated semi-final in 2005, which in the truest of terms was the origin of this rivalrous duopoly. And, it had to happen the way it did for audiences to understand the significance of what this rivalry was and would continue to be.
Though, for a moment, let us imagine an alternate reality. A reality in which the Swiss, instead of the Spaniard, won their first meeting and the ones to follow thereafter. Let us think of an alt-verse where results at the 2008 French Open and Wimbledon did not turn out the way they did. And it was the Mallorcan in place of the Basel-born who needed a coincidental intervention to halt the latter in his tracks in Paris, the following year.
If all of these had transpired, would we have felt the same way about the two being the nemesis of each other? What hold would each player have had in our lives? Would we be thinking of them as a duology, where each player is one half of a pair that has added to men’s tennis’ qualitative appeal?
Indeed, they would have been rivals still but we would not have seen them as equals – as the greatest of the game – despite the clear unevenness in their head-to-head, albeit in Federer’s favour. Most of all, if they had been slated to play in the semi-final of the French Open nearly a decade-and-a-half removed since their first meeting there under such envisioned reality, perhaps, we would not have been this excited about the prospective match-up.
Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal at #RolandGarros.
14 years after that crazy semifinal.
What a time to be alive.
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) June 4, 2019
The reality as we know it is so much better. In its moments of exultation and in times of despair – for the players, their fans and even for the supposedly unbiased viewers – reality has presented the players as humans. Each match between Federer and Nadal has seen both players put forth this quality – humanness – at the forefront while vying for wins. Regardless of how easy or hard the results have come by for either player.
When Federer and Nadal step onto the court for their 39th meeting, they will try to do the same all over again, impassive to time’s turning. As Federer said, “Like against any player, there is always a chance. Otherwise, nobody will be in the stadium to watch because everybody already knows the result in advance…For me to get to Rafa is not simple. It took five matches here for me to win to get there. That’s why I’m very happy to play Rafa, because if you want to do or achieve something on the clay, inevitably, at some stage, you will go through Rafa, because he’s that strong and he will be there.”
In a way, this match is also about getting closure, specifically in the French capital.
Federer. Nadal. Roland Garros semifinal. It's happening.
The two legends will face off for the first time in Paris since 2011 after Federer defeats Stan Wawrinka 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4.
Get your popcorn ready. pic.twitter.com/sonstOc71W
— SI Tennis (@SI_Tennis) June 4, 2019
Where Wimbledon and the Australian Open have given us relative cessation, the French Open has remained in limbo in its one-sidedness. This contest, coming at a time when both have different highs at their backs, promises to be an interesting pivot for them to revisit their rivalry and their legacy at the Majors.
Even as it rekindles exigency for more of their matches at the Majors. Not only in Flushing Meadows later in the year, but perhaps in the soon-to-follow Wimbledon championships, too, in a unique kind of second wind.
Davis Cup: Team Leaders Deliver in Bratislava, Canada-Slovakia 1-1
Shapovalov and Klizan dispose in straight sets of their n.2 opponents. Day 2 will start at 11 with a delicate doubles rubber
Under the watchful eye of ITF President David Haggerty, who was present in Bratislava for one of the Qualifying Ties of his new “creature”, Slovakia and Canada have closed the first day with one win each.
Despite a 3 pm start time on a working day, the AXA National Tennis Center Arena in Bratislava was almost two-thirds full at the beginning of the day, with a small but colorfully noisy group of Canadian supporters.
It was up to Filip Horansky (n.199 ATP) to represent the home team in the first rubber when he had to face the n.1 Canadian, Denis Shapovalov, n.25 of the world ranking and one of the most interesting teenage prospects of the by-now-infamous “Next Gen”. Horansky put together a solid effort, tried to exploit his bigger habit to play on clay, but eventually he had to succumb to a better player with more powerful weapons. For most of the match the Slovak player was able to sustain the baseline rally with Shapovalov, however he never had any answer to Denis’ accelerations with forehand and backhand, and as the match progressed, he started appearing more and more tired, his energies being burned at a much faster rate than he is normally accustomed to.
Both sets were decided by one break, on the seventh and on the eleventh game respectively, when Shapovalov capitalized his dominance on serve and return and open Canada’s account in this tie.
“I believe I played a solid match, especially on serve – said Shapovalov after the match – I feel very confident playing on clay, I have transitioned very well from clay and also this court suits very well my game: balls do not just stop when they touch the ground, it is possible to hit through the court, and this helps me”.
As Shapovalov was talking to the press, his best friend Felix Auger Aliassime was having a dream debut in Davis Cup. With Slovakia 0-1 down, Klizan’s point had become indispensable for the home team, and this pressure was making Klizan play extremely tense and far from his potential. Auger Aliassime got to a 5-2 lead before a calming speech by Slovak captain Dominik Hrbaty was able to relax Slovakia’s n.1 who came back winning five games in a row taking the first set in 50 minutes. The Canadian teenager looked unable to find an answer to the long and slow rallies imposed by Klizan, who would suddenly accelerate into baseline high-speed winners. “I couldn’t have hoped for a better start – said Auger Aliassime – but eventually he raised his level, I started missing shots that shouldn’t be missed, so he eventually imposed his game”. Klizan eventually got to 7-5 5-2 before he could close 7-5, 6-2.
Saturday morning at 11 the Canadian couple will presumably take the stage for the doubles rubber against Filip Polasek and Igor Zelenay.
Cincinnati Open Saturday Preview: The Semifinals
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Naomi Osaka Suffers Injury Setback Ahead Of US Open Title Defence
Richard Gasquet reaches his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Miami 2013
Svetlana Kuznetsova completes her come-back by reaching the semifinal in Cincinnati
How Many Points Are Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer And Co. Defending Until The US Open?
Tim Henman Backs Djokovic To Break Federer’s Grand Slam Record
Entry Lists For Hamburg, Atlanta, Gstaad LIVE
Gerard Pique Takes Swipe At The ATP Cup Over Calendar Scheduling
$100,000 For Winning A Match: US Open Reveals Historic Prize Money Pool
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