Two Time Champion Elina Svitolina Glides Past Garbine Muguruza in Straight Sets at Italian Open 2021

Published 05/13/2021, 1:55 PM EDT
PARIS, FRANCE – MAY 26: Elina Svitolina of Ukraine celebrates victory in her ladies singles first round match against Venus Williams of The United States during Day one of the 2019 French Open at Roland Garros on May 26, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)


Two-time Grand Slam champion, Garbine Muguruza, who had a renaissance 2020 season, is continuing the great run this year as well. The Spaniard won the WTA Dubai Open and reached the finals in Qatar and at the Yarra Valley Classic Open in Melbourne, Australia.

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Muguruza’s re-association with the legendary Conchita Martinez has delivered fruitful results, and the duo maintains an excellent coach-player relationship on-tour.

Coming to the ongoing Italian Open, the Spaniard defeated Patricia Maria Tig and Bernarda Pera in her two opening rounds. She faced world number five Elina Svitolina in the pre-quarterfinals of the tournament.

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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 14, 2021 Spain’s Garbine Muguruza in action during her fourth round match against Japan’s Naomi Osaka REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Muguruza didn’t have an attacking game plan to dispatch Svitolina as the latter played a solid game to defeat the Spaniard in straight sets 6-4,6-2.

Garbine Muguruza offered the first set to Svitolina by making too many errors

Both players made it evident in the first few games that it would be an intense contest of grueling baseline exchanges. But it was Svitolina who decided to vary her shots in the beginning to surprise the Spaniard. Svitolina broke Muguruza’s serve in the second game of the set with the help of an unforced error from the Spaniard.

However, Muguruza quickly responded with a phenomenal return game to compensate for her loss of serve.

The duo already had brutal baseline exchanges, but it was the Spaniard who couldn’t turn longer rallies in her favor as she made repetitive errors, especially on the forehand.

But Svitolina’s lack of power on the serve gave more openings to the Spaniard to break back. As Muguruza is known for her defense and clutch return games, she crawled back into and made sure the match stayed on serve.

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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 13, 2021 Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina after winning her third round match against Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva REUTERS/Kelly Defina

Both Muguruza and Svitolina didn’t have great service games for a while. Serving at 2-3 down in the set, the Spaniard made a double-fault and two forehand errors to lose her serve for the third time.

It had been an exchange of service games between the two as the Ukrainian allowed Muguruza to put the match back on serve once again. The Spaniard was finally able to win a service game and leveled the set 4-4.

The pressure was right back on Muguruza as she had to serve to stay in the set at 4-5. Again, her forehand went long on too many occasions in the service game as she offered the first set to the Ukrainian, 4-6.

Elina Svitolina dictated from the baseline to win the set and match

Unlike the first set, both the players comfortably held their initial service games as Muguruza began to invest more energy and variety into her rallies to get the first break. The Spaniard got the result for her effort as she broke Svitolina’s service game to get an early lead of 2-1 in the set.

But it was Muguruza’s serve once again that allowed Svitolina to level the set at 2-2. On the other hand, Svitolina was a quiet customer as she played her part perfectly with the right mix of aggression and defense.

As the match progressed, the Ukrainian gained control of both her service and return games. Even though the Spaniard played her best, she was unable to dictate the outcome of the rallies. Svitolina cruised forward by hitting a lot of forehand winners and took a commanding lead of 4-2 in the set.

After a comfortable hold of serve in the seventh game, the Ukrainian was just a game away from reaching the quarter-finals at the Italian Open.

Serving to stay in the match at 2-5 down, Muguruza had no response to the brilliant return winners of Svitolina and lost the match 4-6,2-6. The Spaniard made 22 unforced errors in the whole match compared to Svitolina’s 11.

While the matchup remained a close contest in the first set, it became a lop-sided one in the second with Muguruza unable to find a game plan to attack Svitolina.

With this victory, Elina Svitolina faces Iga Swiatek in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

212 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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