Ash Barty narrowly survives amid 'crazy' drama at Wimbledon
Ash Barty narrowly avoided becoming the latest top-10 seed to crash out of Wimbledon on Thursday, but Elina Svitolina wasn't as lucky.
Barty had to overcome "double trouble" with her erratic serving before progressing into the last-32 with a strangely uneven 6-4 6-3 win over tough young Russian Anna Blinkova.
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The top seed produced a second-round performance littered with errors on Thursday, but despite not looking at her commanding best, still ultimately had far too much game for her 22-year-old opponent.
There was much for Barty and coach Craig Tyzzer to work on though as she served nine double faults en route to finally nailing down a third round place against Katerina Siniakova - who she's never played before.
A total of 33 unforced errors went hand in hand with 33 winners, saying much about the sometimes brilliant but often brittle nature of Barty's performance.
"Yeah, tough one. A few things didn't feel quite right today," she said after the match.
"That's half the battle in sport, is being able to find a way when it's not feeling all that great.
"Not my best serving day. But that happens as well. I felt like I was just out of rhythm a little bit.
"You have those days where you feel like you're eight-foot-tall and can't miss the box. Other days you feel like you're three-foot-nothing, just getting over the net is a bit of a battle.
"We just go back to work. Certainly nothing that will concern me over a longer period."
Elina Svitolina becomes latest big name to crash out
Barty's chances of winning her first Wimbledon crown received a huge boost on Wednesday when top-10 seeds Sofia Kenin (4), Bianca Andreescu (5) and Belinda Bencic (9) all crashed out.
And on Thursday third seed Svitolina joined them.
The World No.5 was dumped out in the second round by Poland's Magda Linette, who posted a career highlight 6-3 6-4 win in little over an hour.
Six of the top 10 seeds have now departed in the women's draw, with Serena Williams forced to retire hurt in the opening round.
In total, eight of the top 11 women in the WTA rankings are out with Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka not playing the grass-court major.
Svitolina was a semi-finalist at Wimbledon in 2019 and followed that up with a run to the last four in the US Open a couple of months later.
But she has fallen on hard times since the coronavirus pandemic struck, having made it past the fourth round in just one of the five grand slams played since.
"When you play a grand slam it is ...a different kind of pressure," Svitolina said.
"Sometimes it's tough to handle. Today probably I was not fresh mentally to do that.
"Right now I wouldn't say it's very smooth times in my career."
Fans were left in disbelief as Svitolina joined the mass exodus of top seeds.
That doesn't even include Osaka and Halep who didn't start
— Mark Laz (@marklaz0) July 1, 2021
Shocked to see Svitolina & Kenin in this list ☹️ https://t.co/4Z3dZah2UI
— Nagesh H (@GutznGlory) July 1, 2021
Wimbledon women's seeds out already in 2021
S Williams 🇺🇲
— Chris Goldsmith (@TheTennisTalker) July 1, 2021
As I mentioned with said depth. The top 20 these day’s can be easily comparable with other players just inside the top 50. But at Wimbledon we’re also missing a huge part of the top 10. I can’t defend Kenin, Svitolina and Bencic tho ☠️
— Oracene Price’s Expressions (@xavier_tennis) July 1, 2021
Crazy 🤪 Andreescu is still ranked #7 in the world...
— Heavy D (@RaidersYourFace) June 30, 2021
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