Elina Svitolina has conceded she will need to get back in the gym after failing to match her high standards following a dramatic loss of weight earlier this year.
The world No.7 was knocked out of the US Open in the fourth round by 19th seed Anastasija Sevastova, who won 6-3 1-6 6-0.
The defeat capped off a disappointing run in the grand slams for Svitolina after a quarter-final appearance at the Australian Open offered hope of a serious breakthrough year.
The Ukrainian dropped weight in a bid to reach the next level despite starting the year with titles in Brisbane and Dubai.
The sudden change prior to the French Open in May sparked concerns among the tennis community.
Svitolina won the title in Rome that month but was knocked out in the third round at Roland Garros and the first round of Wimbledon just over four weeks later.
Fans were among those questioning its effect on her form and even her physical wellbeing:
When is someone going to mention Elina Svitolina and her drastic weight loss? Her face looks different, she doesn't look healthy. I'm concerned.
— Luis Madrigal (@LuisMadrigal1) July 2, 2018
— Elena (@elenaclaudia22) August 18, 2018
This weight loss has ruined Svitolina’s tennis.. no power at all anymore 🤷🏼♀️
— WTA tennis (@_WTAtennis) August 17, 2018
I wonder if/when Svitolina will realize that weight loss and tennis dont go together. Girl has lost everything and for what? 10-15lbs? Not worth it…
— GB (@_GB10_) August 8, 2018
Svitolina tries to be aggressive but it doesn't work at all. Maybe better for her would be typical pusher today, like Woz in matches against Slo 😦 Anyways, I see that her forehand isn't so strong as before… It's all because of lose weight 😧
— anka skakanka (@bettlesova) August 11, 2018
— Mahesh Kumar (@maheshkyz96) July 2, 2018
I don’t know, but I think Svitolina might have lost muscle mass in the process of getting lean. That weight loss looks a bit unhealthy IMHO.
— ɼค๓ﻉรɦ (@zbrain) August 17, 2018
Is no one else concerned by Svitolina's weight loss? First I thought she was getting shredded but lately I get the feeling it's maybe affecting her results. Hope that's not the case! #USOpen2018
— BibiLynch (@lynch_bibi) September 2, 2018
Now, having been dumped out of the US Open, Svitolina believes she has to regain strength in order to remain a title contender.
“I think there is few things I have to sit down with my team and think about,” she said.
“I think physically I have to get much stronger since, yeah, there have been a change in my body.
“I think it takes a little bit more time than I expected to get used to it, because I have to change a little bit my game style.
“Because playing the same way as I was playing last year, I know my body is not allowing me to show my best.
“I have to think what I have to do differently. For the moment, it’s tough to say, because after the match you are sad and disappointed.”
Svitolina will remain high in the WTA rankings after the US Open in part because the players above her lost earlier in the tournament.
Sevastova’s win over the Ukrainian set up a rematch quarter-final against American star Sloane Stephens, who won their meeting in 2017 and went on to win the title.
“In a tournament you have a couple of really tough matches you have to battle through – that was one I had to dig deep,” Stephens said of last year’s final-eight battle.
“I’m sure she’ll give me a tough match on Tuesday. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Australia’s Ashleigh Barty joined Svitolina in exiting the US Open in the fourth round but there is a silver lining to her thrilling run.
The Queenslander will reach a career-high ranking, set to move up to No.15 in the world next week.
Barty’s breakout grand slam came to an end at the hands of Karolina Pliskova, but the 22-year-old certainly impressed and will reap the rewards for her efforts.
The No.8 seed Pliskova showed her class in a 6-4 6-4 victory over Barty despite being under pressure for much of the match.
Barty won just about everywhere but on the scoreboard, striking 29 winners to Pliskova’s 16, out-aceing the Czech six to four and offering up only two break points on serve.
Tellingly though, Barty was unable to capitalise on any of eight break-point chances, while Pliskova converted both her only two – one in each set, in the 84-minute triumph.
“It’s disappointing because I know that wasn’t my best tennis today that I’ve played across the past month,” Barty said.
“But she did play the big points better today.”