Why Elina Svitolina is Still a Contender for Roland Garros

Elina Svitolina French Open.

Elina Svitolina is coming into Roland Garros in Paris with a lot on the line – she is still recovering from injury and uncertainty surrounds her fitness level. Following a four match losing streak, it’s clear that a win would be paramount in order to boost her confidence. However, the Ukrainian can’t be counted out and can easily have a good run over the following weeks.

Svitolina’s year so far

Svitolina started the year with a lot of confidence, having won the biggest title of her career at the WTA Finals in Singapore. However, apart from the first few weeks, her performances this year have been underwhelming. She lost in the first round of Brisbane (having won the tournament the previous year), and since beating Vondrousova in Indian Wells, she has failed to win a single match.

According to her, she injured her patella when leading 5-3 in the semifinals in Dubai before losing to Bencic. Despite this, she elected to play in Indian Wells and reached the semifinals. However, soon after her body could no longer compete due to the injury and has struggled since. She took a six week break following Miami and eventually started to practise on clay. Despite it being her favourite surface, she has been finding it difficult to move on the clay and be physical enough.

Going into the clay season, a lot was expected from her. Along with Halep and Bertens, she is arguably the best clay court player. Alarm bells started ringing, however, when she lost to Parmentier in Madrid, in a match she should have won easily. Then, she got an unlucky draw and had to face Azarenka in the first round of Rome. She battled hard and even had a match point, but succumbed to her opponent in three sets. Despite the loss, it was a very competitive match and a lot of positives can be taken from it.

Svitolina’s chances

The 24-year-old has another very difficult match in her hands – a first round encounter with Venus Williams. Although she may not be in her best place at the moment, I firmly believe she is still the favourite. Williams has never been amazing on clay and has struggled for form over the past two seasons. Svitolina can take a lot of confidence from the fact that she obliterated Venus in their last encounter, winning 6-2 6-1. Additionally, having grown up on clay courts, the French Open is one of her favourite tournaments. Therefore, she should be more determined then ever to have a good result in Paris. She has been a top player for several years now; she should be able to brush off a few poor tournaments and return to form for one of the most important events of the year.

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