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At the current Roland-Garros, Elina Svitolina came in the status of the fourth world racket second time in a row. And this year bookmakers even higher assessed the chances of the Ukrainian tennis player for the final victory - in the list of applicants for the title she was the second. But all this is on paper, in reality, Svitolina left the Parisian courts already at the stage of the 1/16 finals and again remained without a "slam".
Elina Svitolina became a significant one in world tennis in early 2017. After several victories in hard tournaments, Ukrainian debuted in the top ten and then achieved the loudest success at that time on the ground - won the prestigious title in Rome. Next was the first trip to the Grand Slam in the status of the contender for the championship. Then, in 2017, at the Roland-Garros Svitolina stopped in a step from the semifinals, losing to Romanian Simone Halep. The defeat can be recorded as extremely offensive: Elina took the first set, and in the second leading 5-1. However, Romanian on the tie-break equalized the score. The decisive set Elina has lost to zero. Yes, during the tournament, Ukrainian was worried about her back. Certainly, at some point, the pain could become acuter, and this affected the quality of the game, but some tennis players, clenching their teeth, bring things to a victorious end. It was a stone's throw to the semifinals!
At Wimbledon and the US Open last year, Elina reached 1/8, and at the Australian Open in 2018 had a good grid, but again stumbled in the quarter-finals and even without a chance. The offender was the Belgian Elise Mertens, who at that time was in great shape, but no one said that it would be easy. The match was lost literally in an hour - 4: 6, 0: 6!
And here again "Roland Garros", and again big hopes. Before that, there was a sure defense of the title in Rome, but, from the statistical point of view, it was not encouraging: only five times in history, having won in Italy, tennis players managed to win the title in Paris.
To the capital of France Svitolina arrived in magnificent physical form. Apparently, at the beginning of the year with the naked eye, you could see how Ukrainian gained weight. A certain decline in results could be caused precisely by this fact. Now Elina lost weight, leaving only the muscles, and now literally fluttered on the court. It seemed that here it is, the moment when everything coincided for a breakthrough, but no. "Roland Garros", like the other three tournaments of the highest category, lasts two weeks. To sustain such a marathon mentally and physically – it’s a difficult thing. On the other hand - this is the indicator of the real champion.
The first two rounds fourth racket of the world completed in one breath: middle-class rivals, Tomlyanovich and Kuzmova, were passed on the class. In 1/16 the meeting with the 33rd racket of the world, Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu was coming. This is the case when the rating is deceptive. Buzarescu is 30 years old, but right now she is experiencing the best period in her career. In addition, she is left-handed, and this should be taken seriously. However, at a press conference before the match, Svitolina said that it does not matter which hand the rival is playing. Probably, in vain.
Elina and Mihaela confronted each other for the first time. I am sure that Romanian disassembled the opponent on the molecules, but the Ukrainian, it seems, did not prepare enough. In the first set, Svitolina simply did not know how to counter the girl on the other side of the court: she repeatedly sent balls under her left hand and received a dense blow in response to the back line. Buzarnescu scored 31 times! Ukrainian for two sets scored only 11 actively won balls.
Everyone says that Svitolina is a fighter by nature. So it is, but again - the Grand Slam tournaments should be taken seriously in terms of the atmosphere, energy, which the tennis players are experiencing. In the second game, Elina tried to shoot her rival from behind and to crush her morally, but she still played in the style suggested by Buzarnescu. Yes, in some episodes it seemed that the Ukrainian was about to seize the initiative, but at the most important moment Svitolina again did not start the set, and this indicates that she has not developed the killer's instinct so far. To become a champion, you need to be emotionally stable and confident in your abilities, when not everything is going according to your scenario. This is what distinguishes a good player from an extra-class tennis player. Svitolina, of course, is a top-level athlete, but there is enough room for growth. By the way, after the victory over Svitolina Buzarnesku lost ingloriously to Madison Keys in two sets.
Similar problems were experienced by the Danish Caroline Wozniacki. She was the first racket of the world, won several dozen prestigious titles, but none of the four most status tournaments. Just this year, at age 27, Caroline took her first "slam" - the Australian Open. And there she clearly showed that all lessons were learned: in the second round Wozniacki started from the score 1-5 and two match-points, playing against her opponent, whose rating fluctuates between the first and second hundred!
Svitolina should definitely pay attention to the recipe of a psychological Zen of Ceroline. Yes, Elina is only 24, but every new failure can press more and more on the Ukrainian player. Although she has a different opinion. "These defeats do not affect my confidence, I know that I have a level of play, I perform well in big competitions, I try to work as best I can on this - I cannot call it a problem - but I put all the energy to get as far as possible. I think I play better at these tournaments, I think that three titles this year is an indication that I'm moving in the right direction. I need more time to find my game on the Grand Slams," she said in an exclusive interview for 112.ua in Paris.
Maybe the victory should not come right now, but the semi-final or even the final at Wimbledon or the US Open this season is extremely necessary for Svitolina for her further becoming potentially the best tennis player in the world.