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Svitolina downs Alexandrova to reach French Open fourth round

Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - September 30, 2020 Ukraine's Elina Svitolina in action during her second round match against Mexico's Renata Zarazua REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) - Ukrainian third seed Elina Svitolina advanced into the fourth round of the French Open with a no-nonsense 6-4 7-5 victory against Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova on Friday.

Svitolina, who reached the last eight twice at Roland Garros, benefited from the 27th seed’s early string of unforced errors to take the better start as she set up a meeting with Belgian 16th seed Elise Mertens or France’s Caroline Garcia.

“I knew it would be a difficult match, she plays flat and deep,” said Svitolina.

“It was very important to stay focused on every point, dig deep, and run for every single ball.”

Alexandrova peppered court Suzanne Lenglen with unforced errors early on, staying in the contest courtesy of a reliable first serve, but the Russian fell one set behind when Svitolina converted her only break point in the 10th game.

Svitolina, who geared up for the French Open by winning the title at the Strasbourg International, saved a break point at 5-5 in the second set as the rallies got longer.

Alexandrova eventually paid the price for her effort and bowed out on her service game.

A double fault earned Svitolina two match points and the Ukrainian converted the first when her opponent whacked a forehand long.

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by William Maclean