Australian Open Debutante Elise Mertens Takes Down Fourth Seed Elina Svitoliva to Reach Semis
(January 23, 2018) Still riding a ten-match winning streak, world No. 37 Elise Mertens knocked out fourth seed Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 on Tuesday to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open in her main draw debut.
“It’s amazing,” said the Belgian. “I mean, not expected, especially today. I played against her last year. Really tough match.
“But, yeah, I was in the zone today. It was a really great match. I played really well, so I’m really happy.”
Mertens called it he biggest win of her life. “I think so. Especially against her. She’s a great mover. She can do great things, defense but also offensive. I guess this is one of my greater wins.”
The 22-year-old Mertens came into Melbourne having defended her Hobart International title.
“I guess — well, I played Hobart, defended my title, so I was kind of happy about that, too. Didn’t really have a lot of expectations here.
“I played a qualifier first round, so I was expected to win. Not always easy, but yeah, as it moved forward, first round, second round, I didn’t really expect to be in the semis.”
Mertens controlled the match from start to finish, building a 5-2 lead to start off.
In her news conference, the Ukrainian Svitolina admitted that had been playing with a hip injury this fortnight.
“I start to feel it actually after the final in Brisbane,” said Svitolina. “Then it was getting worse and then was up and down.
“You know, I always had the tape, like, a heavy tape under the shorts. So, you know, sometimes, you know, it was fine, but today she’s playing good level, so I had to push myself.
“She didn’t give me opportunities. All the credit to her, because she played really good tennis and was only today, so I couldn’t really match it.”
Svitolina had a chance to obtain the No. 1 ranking this fortnight.
Mertens will play second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki
“So it’s going to be a tough match,” Mertens said. “Semifinal, anything can happen.”
“I just have to believe in myself and still have energy left to do great stuff.”
“Well, I’ve got nothing to lose, that’s for sure. I have no points to defend. I guess I’m a bit, well, the underdog, as today.
“But I’m ready for it. I mean, I have a lot of energy left. Mentally/physically good. I’m just going to give it all and see where it ends.”
In the last match on Rod Laver Arena, which ended early Wednesday, No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki defeated Carla Suarez Navarro 6-0, 6-7(3), 6-2.
The Dane, who has a chance to attain the top ranking again, won the first seven games of the match, going up 6-0, 4-2, the Spaniard staged a comeback and even saved a match point before forcing a tiebreak that she won easily. Wozniacki broke serve twice in teh final set to close the match.
More to follow…..