NEW YORK, NY, USA – No.7 seed Elina Svitolina powered into the second round of the US Open thanks to a 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 victory over Sachia Vickery - and she says it will help her going ahead.
The WTA World No.7 made a slow start to the match but powered through to take the opening set. She suffered a major wobble in the second, which was dominated by her opponent, but raised her game in the third to claim the win in little over an hour and a half.
"I'm happy with the way I played and the way I handled the first round. It's always tricky, especially when you didn't play well in the previous Slam," she said, reflecting on her first-round loss to Tatjana Maria at Wimbledon.
"It'll help me and give me more confidence."
Vickery came out firing and claimed the opening game against serve, but after holding herself the set swung violently in the favour of her opponent, who won five successive games.
"You have to accept it and move on," Svitolina said when asked of her sluggish start. "She played a few good points and then I made one unforced error, which wasn't good. I just tried to earn my chance and take it."
The American had adopted an aggressive approach and threatened to get back on terms in the ninth game, in which she earned two break points with some smart hitting. However, the WTA World No.78 was unable to complete the comeback, and saw the opening set escape her when she fired a forehand long.
Again it was the 23-year-old who made the running at the beginning of the second. She was gifted a break point when the Ukrainian delivered a double fault, and some stubborn defence when given that chance saw Svitolina net an overhead.
That unforced error typified the second set for the higher-ranked player. Mistakes became commonplace, and while some of these were forced by the persistence of her rival, they were both more numerous and easier forced than she would have wished. The second set alone yielded 11 unforced errors and just one winner.
By contrast, Vickery was playing with controlled aggression, and when a deft drop shot brought up the chance for another break, it was handed to her as Svitolina again netted. A couple of minutes later, and the set was hers, taking it with an ace.
"It was mental," she said as she explained her second-set slump. "I was trying too many things. I had to go back to what I had to do."
It was an altogether more positive Svitolina who emerged for the decider. After holding serve, she rattled off three winners to earn a break point, which was taken thanks to a deep forehead that landed on the line.
Revitalised, there was barely any relent in her quality. Three points were earned for a double break, which was claimed at the third attempt, and she ultimately took the set with the loss of just one game.
Up next for Svitolina is Tatjana Maria or Agnieszka Radwanska.