And we’re down to the final eight… the first of the women’s quarter-finals which will be on Philippe Chatrier Court at not before 1pm will feature the number 7 seed, Ana Ivanovic against the number 19 seed, Elina Svitolina. This marks a landmark tournament for both players; For Ivanovic, this is her first quarter-final at Roland Garros since winning the title in 2008, while for Svitolina, this is her first ever Grand Slam quarter-final of any kind. Both endured mid-match rain delays to win compelling fourth rounders. Ivanovic defeated Ekaterina Makarova, 7-5 3-6 6-1 in a high quality contest. Despite the conditions early on, Ivanovic and Makarova hit a combined 27 winners through a fantastic first set. After two sets of fast-paced and frantic rallies, it was Ivanovic who stepped it up a notch in the decider. Makarova went away at lightening pace in the third set having gone toe-to-toe with Ivanovic through the first two sets.
Svitolina twice failed to serve out her fourth round match and needed six match points before finally putting away the last Frenchwoman in the draw, Alize Cornet, 6-2 7-6(9). Svitolina was the steadier of the two players although she had a great struggle at the end. Cornet lost her rag with the umpire, Alison Hughes in hilarious fashion. Cornet was the braver of the two at the end, saving one of those match points with an extraordinary return. Cornet had set points, but Svitolina did well in the end to get across the finish line. If she had lost that second set, it may have been tricky mentally to come back.
For Ivanovic, this is an ideal quarter-final match-up. Ivanovic leads the head-to-head 6-0. Ivanovic has lost just one set in those five matches, which came at Indian Wells last year. Ivanovic didn’t play a particularly good match on that occasion but Svitolina struggled to close out the victory. They last played in Madrid where Ivanovic had far too much game for her Ukranian opponent, prevailing, 6-2 6-3. Ivanovic has played some super tennis in her last two matches. I hate to say this but I don’t see Svitolina winning unless Ivanovic starts to feel the pressure and has a shocker. I wasn’t that impressed with how Svitolina played at the end of her match against Cornet and she didn’t really take any chances. She’s a supremely solid player but I don’t see anything special that sets her apart from the rest. Ivanovic seems to be building momentum and I’d take the Serb to win in straights…
Prediction: Ivanovic d. Svitolina in 2 sets