Ivanovic, victorious here in 2008, came into this contest as one of just three former Roland Garros champs still left in the draw, along with Svetlana Kuznetsova and Maria Sharapova. She looked strong in beating Caroline Garcia in straight sets in her opener.
The 19-year-old Svitolina, the 2010 junior champion here and the WTA's No.1 teen, also came into the French Open riding a wave of confidence and with a career-high ranking of No.33 after reaching the semifinals last week in Nürnberg. In her most recent encounter with Ivanovic in the second round of Indian Wells earlier this year, Svitolina was up a set and a break and up a break three times in the third set before falling.
In a rollercoaster first set, Ivanovic was broken right away, then won three straight games and then lost two straight. She eventually took it by breaking Svitolina at 6-5. The second set was more routine, with Ivanovic getting out to a 3-0 lead and going on to a 7-5, 6-2 win. She is now 4-0 in their head-to-head.
By The Numbers
There was a big difference between the two in second serve points won, with Ivanovic's 11 of 16 good for 69%, but Svitolina just 11 of 32 for 34%. Ivanovic also had an impressive winners-to-unforced errors ratio, with 28 winners and 21 unforced errors, while Svitolina had 12 winners and 22 unforced errors.
"The first set was very tight," Ivanovic said. "I was really happy to hold my nerves in the end of that set and then sort of pick up my intensity and rhythm in the second.
"She's a very dangerous opponent. I think she has a good future in front of her. She still needs to get more consistent, but her strokes are very powerful and she has a very dangerous game."
Ivanovic takes on No.23 seed Lucie Safarova, whom she has lost four straight matches against.
"It's going to be a tough match-up," Ivanovic said. "She has been playing really well lately. The last few times I actually lost, so I will try to get revenge and look forward to the challenge. I have tomorrow to get ready for it, and hopefully it will be a good one."