LONDON, Great Britain - No.8 seed Elina Svitolina became the first to advance into the 2019 Wimbledon quarterfinals on Manic Monday, outlasting Roland Garros quarterfinalist Petra Martic, 6-4, 6-2.
The former World No.3 navigated through a tricky opening set as her rival was eventually overcome injury to reach her first quarterfinal at the All England Club after one hour and 49 minutes on No.3 Court.
"I didn't really expect at the beginning of the tournament," she admitted after the match. "Really when I go into Wimbledon, I don't have any expectations. It's very not different, but just I say tougher for me to play here before. I didn't really play well here before, so I had no expectations going into this tournament."
Svitolina had won her last three encounters with Martic, though their last meeting at a major tournament was extremely close as a then-resurgent Martic led 5-2 in the third set at the 2017 French Open before the Ukranian rallied to win the final five games.
Martic has gone from strength to strength since then, winning her first career WTA title earlier this season at the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup and reaching her first Grand Slam quarterfinal in Paris three weeks ago.
Playing the second week of Wimbledon for the second time in three years, Martic gave Svitolina all she could handle in the first set, pushing the two-time Internazionali BNL d'Italia champion through long and grueling games that culminated in a nine-deuce epic at 3-3.
"I think it's very important to be mentally strong because on this surface, sometimes you have to expect that the balls are going to skid, that you have to go more for your shots. Sometimes it's tough to get used to it, where you need to just take one point at a time.
"So don't think so much about what's going on because it can change like in one moment. You can be winning, then the opponent can get the momentum."
Though Martic held serve after saving three break points over the 15-minute marathon, it was Svitolina who ultimately emerged with the momentum, winning seven straight games to surge ahead by a set and two breaks as the Croat took a medical time out early in the second set.
The No.24 seed kept battling, stopping the run of games against her with a strong service hold but Svitolina was undaunted, securing victory with a hold at love.
In all, she struck an impressive 30 winners to just 17 unforced errors while winning 82% of points behind her first serve. Martic hit 34 winners of her own but decidedly lost her edge after the opening set, ending the match with 31 unforced errors.
Up next for the Ukrainian will be Karolina Muchova, the winner of an all-Czech clash against former World No.1 Karolina Pliskova.