Strasbourg: Elina Svitolina suffers surprise loss after stunning third-set collapse

Svitolina exits Strasbourg in the round-of-16 as her title defense at the tournament comes to an end early.

by Dzevad Mesic
Strasbourg: Elina Svitolina suffers surprise loss after stunning third-set collapse
© Getty Images Sport - Johannes Simon

Elina Svitolina's Strasbourg title defense came to an end early following a surprise defeat to Clara Burel on Wednesday.

Svitolina, seeded at No. 7, exited Strasbourg in the round-of-16 after 43rd-ranked Burel handed the Ukrainian tennis star a 7-6 (1) 4-6 6-1 loss. 

For Svitolina, Strasbourg will forever be a special place since it was the tournament where she won her first title as a mother 12 months ago. Also, Svitolina won Strasbourg in 2020 - and since this was her third appearance at the tournament since then - Svitolina returned to Strasbourg this year riding an eight-match winning streak at the French clay event. 

Also, this was the first time that Svitolina lost to Burel. Previously, Svitolina defeated Burel in 2021 Chicago and also beat the Frenchwoman en route to winning Strasbourg last year.

Elina Svitolina
Elina Svitolina© Getty Images Sport - Johannes Simon

How Burel upset Svitolina in the Strasbourg round-of-16 and what happened in the third set?

The first seven games of the first set went relatively calmly as not a single break point was seen. Then, Burel earned the first break for a 5-3 but then failed to serve out for the first set in the ninth game.

After failing to serve out for the opener, Burel had her first set point on Svitolina's serve in the 10th game but didn't realize. Then, another twist happened as Svitolina broke Burel for a 6-5 lead but also didn't manage to serve out for the first set.

When the first-set tie-break started, Burel impressively won the opening five points before realizing her second set point to clinch the opener.

Clara Burel
Clara Burel © Getty Images Sport - Johannes Simon

Down by a set, Svitolina twice went up by a break in the second set but Burel twice came back. But after nine games, Svitolina led 5-4 and then she earned a set point on Burel's serve - which she realized to send the match into a decider.

After forcing a third set, Svitolina started the third set by serving out her opening service game. Then, Svitolina suffered a stunning collapse and lost the next six games as Burel completed a three-set win over the defending Strasbourg champion.

Elina Svitolina