Aleksandra Krunic said she was aware of Elina Svitolina’s dip in form after beating the Ukrainian in the first round of the China Open on Saturday.
In what proved to be a huge upset, the sixth-seeded Svitolina led the 63rd-ranked Krunic 6-0 4-1 before stumbling to a 0-6 6-4 7-6(4) defeat.
But perhaps it was not so big of a surprise.
Survives a set and 1-4 deficit to win 0-6, 6-4, 7-6(4)! pic.twitter.com/Wuk676uXqI
— WTA (@WTA) September 29, 2018
Svitolina has, for the most part, produced an impressive 2018 season. Thanks to three Premier-level titles – in Brisbane, Dubai and Rome – she has maintained her 2017 year-end ranking of No.6 almost 12 months on.
Yet she has continued to struggle at Grand Slam tournaments and has seen her record against top-10 opponents drop from 11-5 in 2017 to 4-3 this year.
Svitolina’s weight loss has also been a topic of discussion and she addressed it after her fourth-round loss to Anastasija Sevastova at the US Open.
“I think physically (I) have to get much stronger since, yeah, there have been a change in my body,” she said. “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.”
Indeed, Svitolina has won a comparatively low 37 matches after notching 53 wins and five WTA titles in a banner 2017 season.
Krunic said she was well aware of Svitolina’s struggles with form going into the match.
“There’s not a lot of secrets. I know how other players play – I don’t pay that much attention, but obvious things are obvious of course,” she told Tennismash at the China Open.
“I think also physically she looks different, she lost a lot of weight. And definitely from what I could observe she’s not physically at her best. You can see also with the points and when I try to open her up, she’s definitely one step far from the ball.
“So of course I’m aware of it, I see the way she looks, so I see that she’s not as fit as last year.
“So I mean you can talk about things, or you don’t talk about these things. But some things are obvious and of course we see each other every week, so it’s inevitable for us to see some changes and hear what’s going on.”
Krunic did not believe Svitolina would have been surprised by her game style – but would not have anticipated she would win the first nine straight games.
“It’s also not a secret that I’m gonna try and run to every ball, but I’m not gonna serve 190kms an hour first serves. It’s not gonna surprise anyone when I go out there and don’t serve it,” Krunic laughed.
“It also depends on the day. Probably she didn’t think I’m gonna come on court and be 9-0 down.”
23 February 2016
Tennis is a funny old game. People love you one minute and then want to drop you the next;... More
29 April 2016
Victory was never out of the question when Bernard Tomic faced 17-time Grand Slam champion... More
23 August 2016
You can recognise your favourite tennis players when they're on the court, but what about ... More