Ukrainian tennis season has ended with Elina Svitolina’s historical achievement, so it is time to take stock. In 2017, the success of our athletes was called the "breakthrough of the year," now we can safely say - Ukrainian women have become part of the world elite.
Elina Svitolina: 4 titles, number four tennis player in the world
For the second year in a row, Elina Svitolina becomes “the locomotive of Ukrainian tennis.” Her season could be divided into three parts: a powerful start, failure, and unprecedented success. In January, she won the title in Brisbane, reached the first quarterfinal in her career at the Australian Open. In February, Svitolina has again won the competition in Dubai, and in May she has defended the title of champion in Rome. She entered the second Grand Slam tournament as the number three tennis player in the world and one of the main favorites. Nevertheless, something went wrong.
In the spring, 24-year-old Elina has worked hard on her physical shape, so at first, it was just difficult to recognize her: instead of a slightly strongly-built girl, we say an unusually thin Elina. However, obviously, her body needed some time to get used to the new forms. Therefore, the level of her tenacity and endurance has decreased. Hence the number of unforced errors on the back line increased, and the blows became less sharp. Svitolina was simply not ready to reshape her game.
The loss in the third round of Roland Garros meant a kind of a fall. Then she was “kicked off” Wimbledon starting point, average performances in the U.S., and a kind of a glimpse in the Canadian semi-finals. Autumn tour in Asia just did not inspire optimism. Many fans and experts harshly criticized Elina, often they did it reasonably: Svitolina was carried away by her media image and advertising.
Moreover, a week before the start, Svitolina’s participation in the final tournament in Singapore was under threat. The Ukrainian thought that she scored enough points in China, so she didn’t show up at the competition in Luxembourg or Moscow, and when her place in the top eight was in jeopardy, the organizers refused to include her in the list of participants, because it was too late.
Fortunately, the other competitors did not take advantage of Elina’s position. In addition, world number one Simon Halep, dropped out because of the injury. In Singapore, Svitolina managed to get rid of the psychological press. After defeating an uncomfortable opponent, Czech Petra Kvitova, Elina said: this is my answer to all the haters! Subsequently, she won the final tournament and set a new national record.
Lesia Tsurenko: 1 title, number 27 tennis player in the world
When at the start of the season you are 28 years old, as a rule, no one expects much progress from you. The Ukrainian has proved that she is a late girl and this is only the beginning. In winter, Lesia was defending her title in Acapulco, performing at her usual level.
Everything changed before Roland Garros: after more than five years of cooperation, Lesia broke up with her trainer Dmytro Brychek. Then Tsurenko reached the first Grand Slam quarterfinal. She had every chance to go even further, but withdrew due to an injury. The trip to America turned out to be successful for her: the quarter-finals at a major tournament in Cincinnati and the debut quarter-finals at US Open. In the next three tournaments she shoved average results. Nevertheless, for Tsurenko, this is still the best season in her career.
Dayana Yastremska: 1 title, number 27 tennis player in the world
Another Ukrainian is now resting in Dubai. The ending of the season for 18-year-old Dayana Yastremska was just fantastic. Her victory in Hong Kong and the semi-finals at the next tournament in Luxembourg are a really great achievement. Powerful game on the back line, bright attacking style surprised everyone who watched the game. Before this, a girl from Odesa made her debut at Grand Slam. However, Dayana was kicked out the US Open during the first round, but there is a feeling that in 2019 she will improve her results. The high rating will allow Yastremska to play in major tournaments without qualification, so her further progress is expected.
Marta Kostyuk: 1/16 Australian Open, number 118 tennis player in the world
Back in January, Marta was 15 years old. As the winner of the junior Australian Open, the organizers gave her a pass to the qualifying tournament despite her low rating, and she took the place in the sixth hundred! Kostyuk shocked everyone: she sensationally advanced to the third round. Someone even compared her with Martina Hingis, who at a similar age showed high results. This was followed by a victory in the tournament in Bernie. Although the competitions are not prestigious, for Marta this success is significant. Who knows – the successful debut in the Federation Cup for the national team might be close.
Just think about it, by the age of 16, a young Ukrainian girl has already gained victories over the Top 50 rivals in her record! Her current coach, Dmytro Brychek, has a clear idea of how to bring the athlete to a new level. Tsurenko is a good example of it.
In addition to the tennis players listed above, Katarina Zavatska and Angelina Kalinina have chances to catch the luck. Daria Lopatetska and Lyubov Kostenko are on the way. Almost all the world countries will envy such an amount of talented youth, perhaps only the US can compete with Ukraine.
Success in women's tennis should not be associated with Ukrainian good school, new infrastructure or state support. Someone was lucky to find a sponsor at an early age, someone had wealthy parents, and someone has got perfect conditions for training abroad.