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Svitolina will face Vondrousova for semi-final spot

Elina Svitolina

This content was published 2 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

Elina Svitolina remained on course for a third Internazionali BNL d’Italia title when she defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets on Court Pietrangeli to reach the last eight where she will face Marketa Vondrousova.

The Ukrainian enjoyed success at the Foro Italico in 2017 and 2018, lifting the trophy on both occasions, and looks to be recreating the kind of form that took her to those titles this week in Rome.

There was nothing to separate the two players in the opening set as they went toe to toe throughout the 64-minute encounter. The pair exchanged breaks in the fourth and fifth games but ultimately needed a tiebreak to see who would gain the early advantage after the Russian saved two set points in the 12th game. It was the No.4 seed who seized the initiative in the tiebreak, striking a backhand winner to take the lead on her fifth set point.

Svitolina was the superior player in the second set, recording two breaks of serve compared with her opponent’s one, and holding break points in all but one of Kuznetsova’s service games. Her groundstrokes were firing and she was dominating on serve as she closed in on a 7-6(6) 6-4 triumph.

“Definitely very happy with the game tonight. It was a big fight. I was expecting the big battle, as always from her. She’s a great fighter, and she never gives you easy matches,” said Svitolina, who will play either Roland Garros runner-up Marketa Vondrousova or Polona Hercog in the next round.

“Yeah, it was two good matches under my belt. Two players who have been training on clay actually, so that’s kind of good for me, because it gives me confidence and I was feeling great tonight.”

Up next for Svitolina is 2019 Roland Garros finalist Marketa Vondrousova who came out on top in the third set tiebreak of her match against Polona Hercog to win 1-6 6-1 7-6(5).

The Czech player was outplayed in the first set, unable to compete with Hercog’s pace and variety, she appeared flat as she lost her serve three times and fell behind 6-1.

There was a momentum shift in the second set as the Slovenian’s level dropped and she struggled to keep in the longer rallies. The world No.19 started using her forehand more effectively and capitalised on her opponent’s loss of form to force a third set.

Hercog was treated for what looked like a back injury and appeared down and out as she trailed 4-1 in the decider but some passive play by Vondrousova allowed her back into the match. The world No.50 broke for 6-5 but was unable to serve it out as the pressure mounted and a tense and nervy tiebreak ensued as both players failed to find any rhythm on the ball. There was no telling which way the match would go but at 5-5 it was Hercog who sent a backhand long to give her opponent a match point which she took after Hercog netted.

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