Tournament 5 Jan 2024

Svitolina edges out Raducanu in stunning exhibition at ASB Classic

by ASB Classic
Svitolina edges out Raducanu in stunning exhibition at ASB Classic

A packed-out ASB Tennis Arena was treated to a clash of immense quality and fortitude as the second seed Elina Svitolina survived and finally thrived in a three-set thriller over Emma Raducanu to move into the quarterfinals at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

Svitolina, winner of 17 WTA titles, is returning to the sharp end of the WTA competition after time out for motherhood, while Raducanu has emerged from many months of injury challenges and surgeries with renewed vim and vigour.

In the end, the fortitude of Ukrainian world No 25 was the telling factor as she raced away with the third set 6-1, which was no fair reflection of the enormous contribution from Raducanu, who led 5-1 in the opening set before winning 7-5, and was eying victory up 6-5 in the second set before Svitolina forced the tiebreak which she won 7-3.

The packed out ASB Tennis Arena stood as one to acknowledge a match of sublime skills and remarkable resilience.

Earlier defending champion Coco Gauff marched on day three of women’s action at the ASB Classic in Auckland.Gauff was untroubled to push past 16-year-old Brenda Fruhvirtova (CZE) in straight sets 6-3 6-0,

Seventh seed Petra Martic (CRO), the world No 41, beat China’s world No 77 Yue Yuan  6-2 6-2, while kiwi-born Lulu Sun earned credit in losing to world no.42 Varvara Gracheva (FRA) 6-3 6-4.

That leaves Gauff to meet Frenchwoman Varbara Gracheva, with the other quarterfinals pitting Emma Navaro (USA) against Martic, China’s Xiyu Wang to meet Diane Parry (FRA) while Svitolina plays Varvara Gracheva (FRA).

Coco Gauff:

“Overall I played a good match. She started strongly but I was able to raise my game.

“When you are younger you want to beat the best, so I did feel that pressure coming into the match.

“On the mental side of things I felt a little bit more mature because I have been on tour the longer. At certain points I was able to play the smarter shot.

“One of the goals in the off-season has been to serve better. I have more to go but I am serving a lot better. Sometimes I am stubborn with myself and try to go for the highlight reel sometimes but that is not required all the time – and I think I did better in terms of hitting the shot that was required.”

Elina Svitolina:

“I am happy I went past those two games and showed really good levels. I am happy I played those matches to see where my level is and how I am physically because I was unsure. But now I can say I am in good form and playing good tennis.

“It was probably on a level to my match with Iga (Swiatek). I think it was may be my second best-ever level-wise. Emma played so well. She didn’t miss one b all until 5-1 and I am happy that I could be there.

“I was really surprised at her level second match and after the surgeries. It’s good to see her healthy. I am sure this match will bring a lot of confidence for her and really great to see her back in such a high level.”

Emma Raducanu:

“My level was really high for two sets that lasted 2hr 15mins. I am proud I was able to get my level up to be able to compete with Elina. She gives you nothing – you have to win the. I went for my shots later in the game that won me the first set but I just missed them.

“I am pretty pleased that she compared our match to that match at Wimbledon. I now it is the start of a long season ahead and having this as a starting point.

“My intensity dropped in the third set which I  med to learn to maintain that better for longer if I am going to compete with these players for three sets.

“I loved the atmosphere today. It was pretty insane. We had some good points those first two sets and it was amazing to have the support here in Auckland but also back home.”

On the other court, New Zealand-born Sun impressed in a massive day, after losing to Gracheva 6-3 6-4 in the round of 16 singles, she paired with Marlborough’s Jade Otway who fought hard but lost to the fourth seeds Jessika Ponchet (FRA) and Anna Siskova (CZE) 7-5 6-3 in the doubles quarterfinals.

New Zealand’s Erin Routliffe and Paige Hourigan had to wait until around 10pm to get on court, going down to top seeds Marie Bouzkova (CZE) and Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) 6-4 6-2.

Quarterfinal draw is - Friday, Jan 5
STADIUM starts at 12:00 PM
[4] Emma Navarro (USA) vs [7] Petra Martic (CRO) 
[1] Coco Gauff (USA) vs [8] Varvara Gracheva (FRA) 
NB 3:30 PM Xiyu Wang (CHN) vs Diane Parry (FRA) 
NB 6:30 PM [5] Marie Bouzkova (CZE) vs [WC] [2] Elina Svitolina (UKR) 
[4] Jessika Ponchet (FRA) / Anna Siskova (CZE) vs [2] Anna Danilina (KAZ) / Viktoria Hruncakova (SVK)