Barty succumbs to Svitolina
Ash Barty pushed No.4 seed Elina Svitolina all the way in the first round at Wimbledon but despite saving five match points, she couldn't win the most important points.
Ash Barty fought for nearly two hours before going down in the first round of Wimbledon to fourth seed Elina Svitolina.
Barty served for the first set and saved five match points in the second but ultimately couldn’t stop the Ukrainian running out a 7-5 7-6(8) winner.
This match had been pegged as a potential upset in the women’s draw; Svitolina came in under an injury cloud – having struggled with a heel injury in an early loss in Birmingham – on her least-preferred surface.
Barty, meanwhile, had been one of the form players of the grasscourt season, reaching the quarters in Nottingham and the final in Birmingham as well as reaching the Birmingham and Eastbourne doubles finals with Casey Dellacqua, winning the former.
Yet while the Queenslander produced 22 winners, she sprayed more than 40 errors – compared with Svitolina’s 23.
“I think I just overplayed a little bit, especially towards the end of the first. I gave away a few cheapies, a few too many cheapies in the whole match,” Barty reflected.
“I certainly had my opportunities and had a few points. I mean, if I could have a dozen points over again, I feel like it may be a different result.
“But, no, I made a few too many errors today, especially off my forehand, but sometimes that’s the way it goes.”
The match began according to the form guide. Barty broke early and although Svitolina broke straight back to level scores at 2-2, Barty broke again and opened up a 4-2 lead.
Yet from 5-3, the momentum started to change. Barty became error-prone and when serving for the set at 5-4, she played her worst game of the match to that point, missing groundstrokes and surrendering serve with a double fault.
Svitolina would reel off five straight games to take the first set and the lead in the second, yet Barty had her chances in the third and fifth games, earning a collective six break points across the two – she led 0-40 in the fifth game – only to let Svitolina off the hook.
After a brief rain delay the fourth seed broke to move ahead 4-2; her stellar movement, nullified somewhat on grass, was nonetheless an advantage and often forced the young Aussie to go for too much.
“Elina is a quality player, a quality mover,” Barty said.
“I hadn’t hit on the main courts yet. They are a bit different to the courts we have been playing on. After four or five games, I adjusted. It was a little bit different.
“I think for me I just pressed a little bit too much and just tried to overplay when I probably didn’t need to.”
Barty did recover the break and the set progressed to a tiebreak, only for her game to become mired yet again in errors.
Svitolina arrived at 6-3 and earned three match points but Barty rallied, discovering consistency yet still going for her shots and erasing all three.
Yet she was always playing catch up.
Two more match points came and went – the fifth saved when Barty clocked an off-forehand winner to level scores at 8-8 – but Svitolina never faced a set point.
And when she scored a sixth opportunity, she converted when Barty committed her 41st unforced error.
Svitolina next takes on Italian veteran Francesca Schiavone.