2020 Roland Garros: Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens take arduous road to victory

Former world no. 1 Serena Williams was forced to pull-out of the event with Achilles injury

by Abbey Johnson
2020 Roland Garros: Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens take arduous road to victory

Elina Svitolina needed three sets to make it to the third round of 2020 Roland Garros. The third-seeded Ukrainian came through a roller-coaster against Mexico’s qualifier Renata Zarazua on Wednesday. Svitolina won 6-3, 0-6, 6-2 in an hour and 35 minutes.

Opening the match, Zarazua’s nerves showed on her game and she quickly went down a couple of breaks allowing Svitolina to take a 4-0 lead. Svitolina’s dominance over the match also showed in how she played without conceding much by way of unforced errors.

Up to the fifth game of the first set, Svitolina had hit just the one unforced error even as her opponent had hit 11. Although Zarazua regained one service break back, the other helped Svitolina take the opener. Errors began to assert themselves in Svitolina’s game as Zarazua played more freely.

Three breaks of serve allowed the Mexican – who is celebrating her 23rd birthday today – a reason to cheer about in her first match against a top-10 player. The third set once again went Svitolina’s way who broke her 178th ranked opponent in the second game of the set to go up 2-0.

Zarazua did break back and the set did return back on serve for the next couple of games but a second break of the Mexican’s serve in the sixth game gave the advantage back to the world no. 5. A third break in the eighth game as Zarazua served to stay in the match was the knell announcing the end of her inspiring run in the tournament.

Svitolina will take on 27th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova for a place in the round-of-16. The Russian beat Australian Astra Sharma in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 in just 61 minutes. The highly-anticipated second-round match between Tsvetana Pironkova and Serena Williams did not take place after Williams withdrew ahead of the match with the same Achilles injury that put paid to her dreams at the US Open earlier.

In her press-conference, Williams said, “I really wanted to give an effort here. (I'm) struggling to walk so that's a tell-tale sign that I should try to recover”.

2020 Roland Garros: Victoria Azarenka upset, Kiki Bertens escapes

The Bulgarian awaits Barbora Krejcikova in the third round.

The Czech defeated compatriot and 32nd seed Barbora Strycova in their second-round clash 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in two hours and 42 minutes. Tenth seed Victoria Azarenka suffered an upset in her second-round match against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

The Slovakian won in straight sets 6-2, 6-2 in an hour and 42 minutes. Schmiedlova will play Argentinian qualifier Nadia Podoroska in the third round. Podoroska upset the 23rd seed from Kazakhstan Yulia Putintseva 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 in two hours and two minutes.

Defending semi-finalist and 25th seed Amanda Anisimova won her second-round match against fellow American Bernarda Pera. Anisimova won 6-2, 6-0 in 57 minutes. She awaits the winner of the Romanian derby between top-seed Simona Halep and Irina-Camelia Begu in the third round.

Fifth seed Kiki Bertens survived a break-fest – and an injury – against Sara Errani to reach the round-of-32 at 2020 Roland Garros. After three hours and 11 minutes of play, Bertens won the match on her fourth match point – on Errani’s serve – in the 16th game of the third set.

The score read: 7-6(5), 3-6, 9-7. Earlier, the Italian had served for the match thrice in the third set in the 10th, 12th and 14th games. Photo Credit: Set Tennis Twitter

Elina Svitolina Kiki Bertens Serena Williams