Elina Svitolina carried over her fine form from Chicago to claim her biggest scalp of the year in 12th seeded Simona Halep. Ever more impressive is the fact that Halep was during the week starting to show signs of getting back to her old self after an injury hit second half of 2021 with some great performances ,although she was tested in the previous round by Rybakina. Mrs Monfils was all focus and not distracted winning impressively in straight sets. Simona was clearly frustrated at her team as the match slipped away. So why was she so upset at them? After all coaching is not allowed during play so it must have been that she was not pleased with the tactics her team was advising. From the first point on the click it kind of makes sense why. Simona was playing the best tennis in the opening stages of the first set, her baseline play was great as usual . That changed mid set. Svitolina began winning more points off her first serve, she was not necessarily hitting the most powerful first serve, but the placement was good.
Another source of Halep’s frustration probably was that she served better than Elina in the overall scheme of things(72% on first serve) but unforced errors were her undoing in that second set. Elina’s forehand rarely let her down in this match. Check out first game of the second 30-30. Clever on Svitolina’s part, the natural instinct of a player is to go towards the center of the baseline, Elina hit the one spot Halep expected her to aim for leaving very little to error. We just have to give Halep the point of the match though. How sweet to win a rally you are not favorite for. Watch 2-1 Svitolina Halep up advantage on deuce. Elina’s error here was following the flight of the ball towards the right at the crucial moment as Halep hit the backhand pass instead of waiting at the center of the net. Lesson for young players, always make the opponent go for the difficult shot(the back hand down the line over the high part of the net) by standing dead center at the net.