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"It feels easier": Strasbourg win sets up Svitolina for French Open
The 26-year-old Ukrainian captured her 15th career WTA title on Saturday, in similar Roland Garros conditions, taking down Elena Rybakina in three sets, 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.
Published Sep 27, 2020
While other players adjust to the slower, colder French Open that got underway in Paris on Sunday, Elina Svitolina comes into the tournament already used to it.
The 26-year-old captured the Strasbourg title on Saturday, in similar conditions and courts, taking down Elena Rybakina in three sets, 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.
"It was not easy, but it's the same for everyone and you have to adjust quickly," said Svitolina. "Normally the tournaments are playing in really hot conditions. We were happy to finish today. In the end, we got lucky to play."
Svitolina is hoping that extra experience pays off at the French Open, where she'll again be attempting to capture her first major. She reached two Grand Slam semifinals in 2019, but has never gone further at the four biggest events.
Due to the coronavirus-affected season, the Ukrainian chose not to play the US Open, staying in Europe and practicing on clay. That's also something that could help her during Roland Garros.
"To be fair I feel quite comfortable or at least I'm giving myself a good chance to move better," Svitolina said. "I try to not put so much pressure on myself, that others were not able to play on clay, because it's important to focus on your game and try to play as good as you can.
"In the end, I'm happy because it feels easier on the clay than other years.
"It's a good chance that I can play well, but there's never a guarantee that you'll win here or there.”
However, one disadvantage of her win in Strasbourg is that won't have enough practice time in Paris, since she'll have just two days in between tournaments.
A two-time French Open quarterfinalist, Svitolina—who is among the top seeds—faces Varvara Gracheva in her opener.