Ohh bugger. Elina Svitolina booked her place in the semi-finals of Cincy with a 6-4 2-6 6-0 victory against Lucie Safarova. The last time that Svitolina beat Safarova at Indian Wells I was too bummed to write anything but here goes. This was a rough watch for Lucie fans but I have to admit I was worried beforehand because this is a terrible match-up for Lucie. This was the first bagel set that Lucie has received all year in what was a poor third set display. It didn’t feel like Svitolina did a great deal in that third set but that’s why she is so tough. She is so, so solid and gets so many balls back in play. There was one great rally which Svitolina finished with a booming winner down-the-line but the main story at the end was just too many errors in that final set from Lucie. The Czech player won six points on serve in the final set and hit 50 unforced errors throughout the entire match *runs to the kitchen to find more chocolate*.
Svitolina progresses to a semi-final date with Serena Williams after the world number one came from a set down to beat Ana Ivanovic in three sets, 3-6 6-4 6-2. It was the 11th (!) time this year that Serena has come from a set down to win a match in 2015. It was a strange watch, partly because for me it feels like everything is kind of insignificant for Serena right now with the US Open not far away. Ivanovic played some decent tennis though and should head into the US Open with some confidence. The match did completely run away from her at the end where she lost the last six games and with a string of double faults in the last game.
It had started rather beautifully for Ivanovic as she proved once again that she’s one of the best at returning Serena’s serve. Ivanovic got plenty of looks at second serves as Serena got just 31% of first serves in play. The second set was very streaky. Serena ran out into an early lead, Ivanovic won four straight games and then Serena steadied the ship at the end to win the second set. Ivanovic ran out into an early lead in the decider but Serena secured the virtual bagel and she did what she does best. The world number one is on course to repeating her results from last year where she reached the semi-finals of Canada and then won Cincy. I’m still not certain that Serena will finish this tournament…
Serena and Elina’s last match on the WTA tour saw Serena win in three sets at the Australian Open, 4-6 6-2 6-0. This one all depends on Serena. A walkover wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. I find myself constantly seesawing on Svitolina. I’m impressed by her results this week though with wins over Alison Riske, Eugenie Bouchard, Caroline Garcia and Safarova. While Svitolina’s solid game gets her through many matches, sitting back and defending won’t cut the mustard against Serena. I hope Svitolina can give a decent account of herself but if Serena does step onto the court, i’d be very surprised to see an upset.