Elina Svitolina can complete storybook comeback at US Open

(Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)
(Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images) /

When a player gets the moniker of “one of the best to never win a Slam”, it’s a very backward compliment. The talent was clearly there but things never aligned for the player. Elina Svitolina, 28, could fall into this section at this moment in her career.

Svitolina, a 3-time Grand Slam semifinalist including at this year’s Wimbledon, has been wowing the tennis world in her return from becoming a new mother. She already has a WTA title and a quarterfinal berth at Roland Garros. In her super run to the final four at the All England Club, she toppled the World No. 1 Iga Swiatek. Her game has seemingly gotten better in her time away.

When the discussion of the best baseline players on the WTA comes up, Elina Svitolina will always deserve a mention. She is so consistent from both the backhand and forehand side. In addition, her fighting spirit has never been in doubt and it actually seems to be amplified since she returned to the tour.

Elina Svitolina could be a surprise winner at the US Open

However, her North American swing has not been the most ideal of lead-ins for the 2023 US Open. A quarterfinal berth in Washington was followed by defeat in her first match at the WTA 1000 event in Montreal.

That is only 4 hard-court matches since her run at Wimbledon. For a lot of players, this could prove detrimental. Svitolina on the other hand, has proven she does not need a lot of matches to find her best game.

While there appears to be something of a “Big 3” forming on the women’s tour, it is by no means a pencil them into the semifinals situation just yet. Her victory over Swiatek at Wimbledon and the title being won by the unseeded Marketa Vondrousova are clear examples of this.

Svitolina is a big match player, and there are not many bigger stages than the US Open. If she can grab a few night matches, we might see her level up before our eyes.

She will be seeded 26th in Flushing Meadows and has a pretty comfortable first few rounds. However, she could run into the red-hot World No. 3 Jessica Pegula in the 3rd round. That could certainly be a night match on Arthur Ashe. I would put that match as a toss-up, but in current form, Svitolina would be the underdog.

As things stand, Elina Svitolina could beat anyone she faces at the US Open. She could also be stunned early on. Pressed to decide, I would lean towards her having full capacity to make an Emma Raducanu-type run and win a maiden Slam.

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