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Svitolina vs Vondrousova tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Marathon woman Svitolina faces Halep’s conqueror for semifinal spot

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 13 Mar 2019
  • Elina Svitolina faces Marketa Vondrousova in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday
  • Svitolina vs Vondrousova is live from Indian Wells on Wednesday at 6pm local/1am GMT
Elina Svitolina (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

Marketa Vondrousova announced herself with a big win over Simona Halep in the fourth round – can she dish out the same treatment to sixth seed Elina Svitolina in the Indian Wells quarterfinals?

After surviving a huge test from Ashleigh Barty, sixth seed Elina Svitolina has a big opportunity to make her first Indian Wells semifinal – if she can avoid suffering the same fate Simona Halep did at the hands of talented teenager Marketa Vondrousova.

This is the first time that Svitolina has made it as far as the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open as the WTA Finals Singapore champion looks for her first title at Premier Mandatory level. Svitolina has won four titles at Premier-5 level in 2017-18 and, of course, the season-ending championships, arguably the biggest title in women’s tennis outside the four majors. But success at any of the four Premier Mandatories has so far eluded her, with her best result at that level a run to the semifinals of the China Open in 2016.

Svitolina celebrates victory over Barty (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)
Getting this far at Indian Wells didn’t come easy for Svitolina, either, because in order to do so, not only did she have to beat the in-form Sofia Kenin and Daria Gavrilova, but she had to win the longest WTA Tour match of the year against Ashleigh Barty, which clocked in at three hours and 12 minutes – and apparently felt longer.

‘Actually, it did feel pretty long, because we had long rallies and long games,’ Svitolina said afterwards, laughing. ‘It actually felt longer than three hours and 12 minutes.’

Svitolina managed to preserve her unbeaten record against Barty but not without a mammoth fight from the Australian, who arguably should have won the first and third sets. Svitolina served for the first set after breaking Barty on a double fault, but the Australian not only broke back but held five set points, the first on Svitolina’s serve and the rest in the ensuing tie-break. Every set point that Barty held, however, she wasted with an unforced error and she made another to lose the first set.

Svitolina held a break lead in the second and even served for the match, but Barty broke back before having to fend off two match points on her own serve, ultimately levelling the match. Svitolina, whose knee was strapped, took a lengthy medical time out in the third set but came back from an early break down to break herself and serve for the match – only to then be broken, but managing to break for the win, 7-6(8), 5-7, 6-4.

Somewhat ironically for someone who took a medical time-out, Svitolina said that her fitness was key to the win. 

‘I always trust my fitness,’ Svitolina said. ‘I know that I can play good matches, and I'm physically strong. It's one of my strengths, I would say. So I have just to trust it.

‘You know, I was working before coming here on my fitness. So, I just had to go out there and try to stay tough and fight until the very last point, and it really helped me today.’

Svitolina’s reward for fighting through a match in which she often looked like coming off second-best, thanks to some spectacular winners from Barty, is a huge opportunity in the bottom half of the draw. Only three of the top eight seeds have made the quarterfinals, and two of them – Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber – are in the top half of the draw with Venus Williams and Dubai champion Belinda Bencic. Svitolina, however, faces the unseeded Marketa Vondrousova in the quarterfinals, with the prospect of meeting 20th-seeded Garbine Muguruza or another unseeded player, Bianca Andreescu, for a place in the final. She has to like her chances of winning her first Premier Mandatory title.

That’s not to say that her match against Marketa Vondrousova will necessarily be easy, because the Czech teenager has been on a brilliant run at the tournament so far.

Marketa Vondrousova (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Vondrousova first came to most of our attention when she won her first WTA Tour title at Biel in 2017 as a 17-year-old qualifier ranked outside the top 200, and she went on to make the fourth rounds of Indian Wells, Stuttgart and the US Open in 2018, although she dropped out of the top 100 as she struggled with some injury issues. Now 19, Vondrousova lost in the second round of the Australian Open but bounced back with a run to her second WTA Tour final in Budapest, and she has been on a really great run at Indian Wells, beating Laura Siegemund, 2018 runner-up Daria Kasatkina and Jelena Ostapenko – and that’s before taking out second seed Simona Halep.

I’ll confess I was surprised to see how the match between Vondrousova and Halep unfolded – while I’ve been impressed from the first by Vondrousova’s talent and point construction, I didn’t think she had the stamina or tactical savvy to win two sets against Halep. But the Romanian definitely connived in her own destruction with some poor patches of unforced errors, especially in the third set when, having come back from a set down to level the match and seeming to have the momentum, she double-faulted twice to hand back the break she’d secured and went on to lose the next three games.

While Vondrousova did lapse tactically in the second set, she refocused superbly in the third set and I thought her shot selection and strategy was excellent in the first and third sets, using the angles she’s able to generate as a left-hander to work Halep off the court and finding a great balance between defense and aggression, as well as playing several very smart drop shots, especially in the opener. 

It was a huge win for the Czech youngster, but can she get another against Elina Svitolina in Wednesday’s quarterfinals? I’m not sure. Svitolina has played Vondrousova twice, beating her both times (albeit by retirement after they split sets in Stuttgart last year) and while her knee is a concern, the Czech also looks like she might be physically a bit compromised by effort and emotion. Halep did open the door for Vondrousova several times with a below-par performance, and I don’t think Svitolina, with such a golden opportunity in her grasp, is going to make the same mistake. Look for her to come out aggressive, smother the Czech with depth and punish her for any short balls, and secure a place in the semifinals at Indian Wells for the first time.

Svitolina vs Vondrousova BNP Paribas Open tennis is live from Indian Wells on Wednesday at 6pm local/1am GMT

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Svitolina vs Vondrousova tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Marathon woman Svitolina faces Halep’s conqueror for semifinal spot

Elina Svitolina vs Marketa Vondrousova live streaming, preview and predictions for the BNP Paribas Open quarterfinal match on Wednesday 13 March: After winning the longest match of the year against Barty, Svitolina has a huge opportunity to make her first Indian Wells semifinal as she faces Czech teenager Vondrousova

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