Australian Open 2019: Elina Svitolina beats Madison Keys to reach quarter-finals

Elina Svitolina reached the quarter-finals in last year’s competition before being defeated by Elise Mertens
Australian Open 2019
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 14-27 January
Coverage: Daily live commentaries on the BBC Sport website, listen to Tennis Breakfast daily from 07:00 GMT on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and watch highlights on BBC TV and online.

Sixth seed Elina Svitolina beat former US Open finalist Madison Keys in a pulsating fourth-round match at the Australian Open.

The Ukrainian broke twice to take the first set but Keys won five games in a row and hit 16 winners as she went on to dominate the second.

Svitolina then held off five break points in a 16-minute game in the third set to win 6-2 1-6 6-1.

She will face Japanese Naomi Osaka or Latvian Anastasija Sevastova next.

Swinging in Svitolina’s favour

Keys had five break points in the third set but failed to convert any, while Svitolina had two and broke twice

It looked like it would be an easy victory for Svitolina when nine unforced errors from an out-of-sorts Keys helped the Ukrainian storm to a comfortable first-set lead.

The only thing troubling Svitolina was a blister on her toe which needed attention during a medical timeout before her final service game.

But despite losing just seven points on her serve in the opening set, Svitolina struggled to match Keys’ powerful ground strokes in the second and was immediately broken.

A revived Keys flipped the match on its head – winning 85% of her first serve points and hitting 16 winners to Svitolina’s four in the second set.

It looked like the momentum would follow Keys into the deciding set and at 1-1 Svitolina had to hold off a mighty challenge from the American, who failed to take any of her five break points in a game which lasted 16 minutes and 20 seconds.

And that lack of ruthlessness proved costly for 17th seed Keys as Svitolina responded with back-to-back breaks to storm to victory and book her place in the quarter-finals for the second year running.

“I was happy to handle that pressure at 1-1 in the third set,” Svitolina said. “It was very hard because the sun was burning my eyes so I was very happy that I could win that game.

“I was playing good tennis today but Madison was playing great too in the second set so I had to rise and put my level up. I am going to enjoy this first because I have to keep positive for the next round.

“It is always exciting. I love to come here and it is always a happy place.”

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