- Two-time champion Elina Svitolina has quietly moved through the Rome draw to the quarterfinals
- She meets 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek for the first time on Friday, May 14 at noon EDT
- It’s the only matchup between two seeded players in the quarterfinals; we break down the odds
Two-time Italian Open champion Elina Svitolina has been gliding in near anonymity through this year’s edition.
She was way down the list of pre-tournament favorites, despite her impressive Rome resumé.
Iga Swiatek vs Elina Svitolina Odds
|Player||Spread||Moneyline||Total at DraftKings|
| Iga Swiatek (POL)||-1.5 (-113)||-136||O 21.5 (-107)|
| Elina Svitolina (UKR)||+1.5 (-113)||+110||U 21.5 (-120)|
Odds as of May 13
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Suddenly, though, she’s in the conversation. Even if she’s in the stronger top half with world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty while another neglected former champion, Karolina Pliskova, is in the bottom half with three unseeded upstarts.
Svitolina, who won the tournament in back-to-back years, 2017 and 2018, was down at +2500 before the event began. That’s not as bad as Pliskova’s +5000.
But the number of untested rookies who were more well-regarded was somewhat surprising.
One of them was Swiatek, in at +800 on the strength of her win at the French Open last October.
Now, they meet for the first time, and Svitolina can make believers out of a few doubters.
Swiatek Squeaks Past Krejcikova
The 19-year-old from Poland is feeling the pressure in 2021, hyped as the next great star after the triumph in Paris. She now has the proverbial target on her back, and she’s feeling it.
She was very out of sorts in her third-round win over Barbora Krajcikova Thursday in a match that littered up the stat sheets.
"It looked weird probably, maybe sometimes like I was tanking. It wasn't that.
"I was trying to find a solution because I didn't want to get more and more angry."
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) May 13, 2021
If she pulled it out in the end after saving two match points, it was not the kind of confidence-building victory that would serve her well going forward. But the scoreboard’s the thing.
Iga Swiatek vs Elina Svitolina Head-to-Head
|19 (May 31, 2001)||Age||26 (Sept. 12, 1994)|
|Warsaw, Poland||Birthplace||Odessa, Ukraine|
|2||Career WTA Singles Titles||15|
|No. 15 (March 1, 2021)||Career High Ranking||No. 3 (Sept. 11, 2017)|
|No. 15||Current Ranking||No. 6|
|$3,332,979||Career Prize Money||$20,267,227|
|16-5||2021 Won/Loss record||19-8|
Svitolina Impressive Against Sub-Par Muguruza
Garbiñe Muguruza was a bit of a question mark coming into Rome, because she was a last-minute withdrawal from Madrid last week due to an ongoing leg injury.
She and her team only decided to go forward in Rome in the couple of days before it began.
After pulling off a three-set comeback win over qualifier Bernarda Pera, that was about all Muguruza had. So that made her fairly easy pickings for Svitolina.
And even if her opponent wasn’t firing on all cylinders, it was a confidence-building victory for the No. seed.
In her first match, she dropped the first set before overcoming unseeded but formidable American Amanda Anisimova.
Tough Start to the Season
Ashleigh Barty has beaten Svitolina twice this season. Fair enough.
But the Ukrainian also has lost to Kudermetova, Mertens, Pegula, Kuznetsova and Teichmann. All of those defeats went the distance against players who are good – but not opponents who have been at or around the top five for several years as Svitolina has.
In Qatar, she even lost to Victoria Azarenka, whose lower back was acting up so badly during the match that even though she got through it, she withdrew before her next one and has barely played since.
That was a low point.
Fighting like a WARRIOR 🤺
— wta (@WTA) March 4, 2021
Weather May Play a Major Role
It will be a quick turnaround for Swiatek, who needed close to three hours to get past Krejcikova Thursday.
But she might get a reprieve on Friday, as the weather forecast is dodgy until about 4:00 pm and it’s expected to be very rainy after that.
Despite her status as a Grand Slam champion, Swiatek remains quite inexperienced at the top level. Meanwhile, Svitolina has been on Tour nearly a decade and has handled every situation many times over.
She also has handled every game style.
Opponents bring their best against her because they respect her defensive skills and doggedness so much.
Svitolina beat Barty the first five times they played. She’s beaten Roberta Vinci on clay. She’s 2-0 against Karolina Muchova, who has a game that, like Swiatek, is based on variety with power. In other words, she can adapt to what Swiatek brings.
Meanwhile, Swiatek might bounce back strongly from her crisis on Thursday. Or it might go the other way.
Svitolina at +105 to win the first set looks good.
Best Bet: Svitolina in three sets (+400)