Svitolina sinks Garcia: Things we learned

 - Simon Cambers

Ukrainian No.3 seed dashed home hopes on Sunday with a straight-sets dismissal of Garcia in the last 16

Elina Svitolina, Roland Garros 2020, fourth round© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Third-seeded Elina Svitolina is through to the Roland-Garros quarter-finals for the first time since 2017.

Here's what we learned from the Ukrainian's straight-sets victory over home favourite Caroline Garcia in the fourth round on Sunday.

Svitolina is growing in confidence

Until she arrived in Strasbourg, Svitolina was probably not totally sure what kind of form she was in.

Beaten in the quarter-finals in Rome, having skipped Cincinnati and the US Open, the Ukrainian duly won the title in Strasbourg and has carried that form over here at Roland-Garros.

After dropping a set in round two, she has not dropped one since and was too solid, too consistent and too good for a misfiring Garcia as she wrapped up a 6-1, 6-3 victory.

“I feel better and better each day,” Svitolina said. “I think the one day off really helped me to recover and to regroup. So right now it's just playing matches. I'm trying to win every single match that I'm on.

“I'm really happy the way I have been handling…the conditions inside on Chatrier, outside in Lenglen, different courts, different conditions. So every day it's a new surprise, and I'm very happy the way I was handling it.”

Wind not a problem

Conditions at Roland-Garros on Sunday were pretty tricky, sun and shade on the court but most obviously, a nasty wind that made life difficult for everyone.

While Garcia’s flatter, high-risk shots too often missed their mark, Svitolina’s outstanding footwork enabled her to adjust to the movement of the ball and she played with calmness and margin, making just 14 unforced errors in two sets compared to 34 for her opponent.

“Elina did a really good job kind of accepting that it wasn't going to be perfect, playing really simple tennis to begin, and using the wind to her advantage,” her coach Andrew Bettles told reporters.

“She adapted her game, changed her position, tactically was very aware. And, yeah, she did a really good job. She used it to her advantage rather than kind of letting it bother her.”

The wind may yet be a factor in the coming days but Svitolina seems fine with it.

Great chance to reach her first Grand Slam final

Having made the semi-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open last year, Svitolina has been building nicely and as the highest-remaining seed and the only seed in her half, she is favourite to make it through to Saturday’s final.

That brings its own pressure, but Bettles believes Svitolina has the experience and will not allow herself to think too far ahead.

“You look to the next match,” he said. “That's the only thing to think about. Anything else that's going on, that's kind of outside noise, block it out. Next match. We focus on that. There is no point getting carried away and looking too far ahead.”

“Slams are really kind of managing all sorts of expectations and everything,” he added. “It's a journey. So we're kind of just finding the way. She has that experience now of reaching the semis. So I think you saw a really kind of experienced performance out there today.”

Lots of positives for Garcia

Garcia didn’t play her best against Svitolina but the Frenchwoman can take a lot of positives from this tournament, especially the way she battled through against Elise Mertens in the previous round.

This was her first time in the fourth round of a slam since Roland-Garros in 2018 and the confidence she takes from her run here should help her as she builds towards 2021.

Garcia turns 27 later this month but she’s a confidence player, a woman who’s been ranked as high as No.4 in the past and who, if she can stay fit and healthy, has the game to get back towards the top 10 again.

Caroline Garcia, Roland Garros 2020, fourth round© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT