Elina Svitolina weathers Hunter Storm onslaught to secure Round of 32 place

Elina Svitolina

Elina Svitolina defeated qualifier Storm Hunter in the second round of Roland Garros by a scoreline of 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 to extend her winning run to six matches.

Svitolina’s husband Gawl Monfils lit up the Court Philippe-Chatrier the late night session by defeating Sebastian Baez after falling down 4-0 in the fifth set. Monfils was present as Svitolina battled to a comeback triumph of her own early on Wednesday.

She now advances to the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time since the Australian Open in 2022 as a result of her fightback win.

“I was watching [Gaël], but not live — I was screaming in my hotel room,” said Svitolina in the on-court interview. “So if anyone heard it, that was me cheering. It was an unbelievable match and I don’t know what he’s doing here now, I think he should be resting. But I’m really thankful for him coming to support me.”

Svitolina, who won her 17th career WTA Tour championship last week in Strasbourg, is taking part in her eighth match after coming back from maternity leave. The No 5 seed Caroline Garcia or Anna Blinkova will be her next opponent.

She gave credit to her opponent for giving her a hard time.

“It was really tough to play against Storm in the first set. She came out firing winners and playing really well. I didn’t think I played that bad in the first set, but she was the better player on court. I had to regroup, refocus and try to bring my best game. The second and third sets were a good match from me.”

Hunter may only be ranked No 204 in singles, but the Australian is No. 5 in the world in doubles and has just won the Rome championship with Elise Mertens. In the opening set, she outstruck Svitolina with 11 winners to the Ukrainian’s seven.

The variety of her game continued over into the second set, when Hunter stood out for her powerful left-handed forehand and her cunning use of the drop shot.

After capturing an early break, Hunter held five points to consolidate it and lead 3-1 in the second set.

Hunter’s backhand, though, started to miss as Svitolina started to deliver more telling hits with her forehand. After 10 minutes, Hunter double-faulted while up a break point, wasting five of her game points.

Svitolina used that to turn the match on its head.

The former world No 3 came back from 2-1 down in the second set to win 11 of the following 13 games in an increasingly commanding performance. In sets two and three, she found 18 victories by moving more quickly to the net. In contrast, Hunter made 31 unforced errors in the final two sets as a result of the strain.

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