Re: Elina Svitolina Cheering Thread!
Elina Svitolina (UKR) d. Bernarda Pera (USA, Q) 6-1 3-6 6-4
Qualifier Bernarda Pera is a Croat, who has switched to American only recently, who speaks to herself in Croat and who has a Latin coach with Armani sunglasses. The lady with them was surely a Croat, judging from the number of "ajdes" and "picku maters". Maybe a mother or a sister.
Pera can be a good player one day, when her huge groundies (forehand and double-handed backhand) land in the court. She aims for flat nearly every time, but she can hit a deep topspin too. Pera goes for hit or miss, but even in an uncomfortable position she tries to produce something to hurt her opponent, even if some of those shots end up hurting her.
Elina Svitolina has had more success so far (same age, 18 yo), but a lot of Pera's big groundies brought her troubles. She won the first set easily and was up a break in the second, also using American's naivety - surprise by changing a spin, ball pushed back to be hit wide, etc.
This is where Pera's good game started, and the match was even until the very end. Bernarda went from 1-2* to 3-2* and broke again for 5-3 with her good returns. She continues well in the third set, where she opened with a break.
Svitolina had to activate her deeply hidden "ambition mode" to remember she also has legs to run and decent groundies to put pressure with. At accompany of several "come on" and "da" she broke back for 2-2, and they both dominated on serve.
The Ukrainian was mentally better in the end - she broke for the match. In the last game Pera hit 2 double-faults and some very weak second serves. She saved 2 match points with forehand winner, but the third was too much.
The wind dominated the matches. At first it was windy and hot, later it was windy and cloudy, even a bit rainy. It affected the quality of some games, probably also players' attitude.
Irina Falconi (USA) d. Elina Svitolina (UKR) 7-5 6-3
Irina Falconi hasn't had a great season except the semifinal in Dothan, but there is something in Prague that makes her play well. She was consequent with her tactic in later stages against Klara Zakopalova, and now even more impressive against Elina Svitolina. Falconi, when in shape, is a smart player, not scared to move forward with a drive volley, though the first and the foremost she is regular.
In the first games ladies tried to dominate each other, and Falconi prevailed this trial. Svitolina made more mistakes.
However, in this match Elina showed the most promise out of all her matches I've seen live. She does have a strong shot when she wants, and her footwork was good for most of the encounter, except one rally in the first set where it was obvious she was broken due to not coming close to shorter balls. She came back from a break down for 5-5 thanks to motivation and big returns, but then she continued with errors.
The Ukrainian looked gutted in the second set. It became apparent she has the game and her titles in Pune or Eilat didn't come for free, so probably she was sad that game wasn't with her in Prague. Irina steamrolled, she smelled the blood and didn't let it go. Next she'll face her friend Maria Sanchez, who leads h2h 3-1. Thier matches were commanding in Sanchez's favour, so even if Falconi made better impression on Thursday, there is probably something about this match-up.6-7(8) 6-3 1-3