Barbora Krejcikova posted an upset over fifth seed Elina Svitolina in the third round of the French Open on Saturday. The Czech blistered past the Ukrainian, winning 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 39 minutes. The match was punctuated by hard-hitting rallies with both players going for broke from the baseline.
However, Krejcikova came out on top on most occasions. In the first set, Krejcikova immediately gained the upper hand in the first game of the set with a break. But two games later, Svitolina had broken back to bring the set on level terms.
The world no. 33 once again took the lead in the set in the seventh game. The consolidation, however, took time as Svitolina kept pushing at her and secured four break-back opportunities to level the set at four-all. But Krejcikova saved the quartet of break points and served out the game to go up 5-3 in the set.
Svitolina’s serve came under pressure yet again from Krejcikova’s barrage of shots as she was trying to stay in it in the ninth game. She quickly went down two set points and didn’t even get a chance to save them with her errors giving the set to her opponent.
The second set was even more one-sided than the first. The opening moments of the second set played out in the same manner as the first with Krejcikova securing the first break to go up 2-0. The next two games saw Svitolina break back Krejcikova’s serve and follow it up with a consolidation of her own for two-all.
But thereafter, the match went entirely against her as Krejcikova won the last four games of the set to take her place in the second week.
French Open: Sloane Stephens, Sofia Kenin keep the American flag flying
The Strasbourg winner hit 38 winners to Svitolina’s 20 winners and had 28 unforced errors to the latter’s 19.
In the pre-quarter-finals, Krejcikova will play Sloane Stephens. Stephens reached the fourth round with a hard-fought 6-3, 7-5 win over Krejcikova’s compatriot, and the 18th-seeded Karolina Muchova. Barring the fourth game in which Stephens broke Muchova’s serve, the first set was entirely dominated by the server.
While Stephens won 79% of her first-serve points, Muchova wasn’t bad either, winning 70% points off her first serves. However, Muchova was let down by an error-filled game that thwarted her from making a dent in the set.
She had the lone chance to break back in the seventh game but Stephens did well to save the break point and keep herself ahead in the set. The second set tilted a little in favour of the returner and featured a total of five service breaks.
Stephens led on all occasions and even had a chance to go up 5-3 in the set after a break in the fourth game but wasn’t able to consolidate. The American, however, rallied for one final push in the 11th and 12th game of the set first by breaking Muchova for the third time in the set and then finally consolidating the break by serving out the match successfully.
Not much separated the two players in terms of winners, Muchova had 23 winners to Stephens’ 23. But Muchova had 32 unforced errors, seven more than Stephens’ 25. Fourth seed Sofia Kenin is the highest seed left in the French Open draw.
The American claimed a tough three-set win over compatriot, 28th seed Jessica Pegula in their third-round match on Saturday. Kenin dropped the opening set but bounced back to post a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory in an hour and 56 minutes.