Aryna Sabalenka's midnight magic sinks Elina Svitolina in an epic Roman showdown

Tuesday, 14 May 2024 at 00:48
Aryna Sabalenka may have been playing past midnight at the Rome Open and without hardly any spectators but those watching in the stadium and at home were treated to a show as she defeated Elina Svitolina 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(2) to reach the Quarter-Finals.
A Roman roller coaster so to speak, Sabalenka won in just over two hours and 20 minutes saving match points in the deciding set tie break along the way as Svitolina fell at the final hurdle against the World No.2.
It is a 19th WTA 1000 Quarter-Final of her career as she saved three match points to reach the Quarter-Finals in Rome for a second time.
An utterly incredible match from start to finish, Sabalenka lost her serve at 1-1 in the opening set and did so again at 4-3 after wrestling the advantage back initially. It went with serve from there as Svitolina edged the opener 6-4. The second set was more of a fall off for the Comeback Player of the Year who had to comeback from a poor second set. Losing her serve at all but one juncture, Svitolina was handed a pretty rampant 6-1 towelling by the World No.2.
But Svitolina took a 2-0 lead in the final set. Three games in a row reversed roles as Sabalenka went on to take a 4-2 lead. Svitolina broke at a pivotal time at 4-5 down for parity and held to go towards the match. She then had two match points, but Sabalenka as ever was gritty and fought for every point. She saved it and it went to a tie-break. Svitolina had time to show her resolve as she saved match points from Sabalenka to force her own but again she fell when it mattered most as Sabalenka let out a mighty roar in completing an epic win. Who next but a certain Jelena Ostapenko. Two players who certainly wear their hearts on their sleeve and a match not to be missed in the Quarter-Final line-up.

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