LONDON, Great Britain -- No.8 seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine reached the fourth round of Wimbledon for the second time in her career after she outlasted No.31 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece, 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-2, in their third-round tilt on Friday.
Svitolina, who made the round of 16 at the grass-court Grand Slam in 2017, held two match points in the second set before a Sakkari comeback pushed the clash into a decider, but the Ukrainian was able to maneuver to the victory after a tough two hours and eight minutes of play.
In the first meeting between the two players, Svitolina won two-thirds of points on her first serve and 73 percent of points when she ventured to net. Sakkari had 35 winners, 20 more than Svitolina, but the Greek came unglued with 48 unforced errors.
On Monday, Svitolina will face either No.24 seed Petra Martic of Croatia or Danielle Collins of the United States for a spot in her first Wimbledon quarterfinal.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 5, 2019
Sakkari drew first blood in the clash, breaking for a 3-1 lead with a backhand return winner. But that would be the final game the Greek would claim in the opening frame, as Svitolina steadied herself while Sakkari’s unforced errors mounted. Svitolina broke an error-prone Sakkari twice to reach 4-3, then held at love to win a fourth straight game and pull to 5-3.
Serving to stay in the set, Sakkari was unable to keep her errors under control, and dropped serve at love, ceding the one-set lead to Svitolina. The Ukrainian won the last ten points of the set, as part of her five-game run to close it out.
Nevertheless, Sakkari started the second set strongly, earning two quick service breaks to race to a 3-0, double-break lead. Svitolina grabbed one break back with a passing winner to get to 3-1, but Sakkari was able to stay just ahead through 5-4 with a series of groundstroke winners.
With Sakkari serving for the set at 5-4, though, Svitolina fired superb backhands to reach triple break point, then a forehand passing winner off of a dropshot to break Sakkari at love and reach 5-5. Svitolina then had two match points on Sakkari’s serve at 6-5, but the Greek bravely saved the first with a volley winner and the second with an error-forcing forehand.
In the tiebreak, Sakkari continued to stay aggressive, and she reaped the benefits as she raced through it. The Greek punched another winning volley to grab a 4-1 lead, and a stirring forehand winner brought her to 6-1 and gave her five set points. Svitolina double faulted to end the set, and Sakkari had come back from the brink of defeat to get to one set apiece.
In the end, though, it would be Svitolina who rebounded from the loss of the set, deftly moving around the court to draw Sakkari into errors and earning the first break of the final set at 3-1. Svitolina then staved off two break points to hold for 4-2, and she broke Sakkari for a second time to reach 5-2, as she edged closer to winning the three-set tussle.
Serving for the match, the Ukrainian zoomed to triple match point, but errors cost her each of those chances, and she needed to save one last break point with an error-forcing backhand. Finally, a Sakkari forehand error gave Svitolina the win on her fifth match point of the game, and her seventh overall.
More to follow....