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U.S. Open: Elina Svitolina could be on track for first Slam title

Katerina Siniakova of Czech Republic serves to Elina

Katerina Siniakova of Czech Republic serves to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine during their first round Women's Singles match on Day Three of the 2017 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 30, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Credit: Getty Images / Richard Heathcote

In case you haven’t noticed, Elina Svitolina has climbed the women’s tennis ladder to No. 4 in the world and is the U.S. Open’s fourth seed.

She toughed out her first-round match against Katerina Siniakova on Wednesday, 6-0, 6-7 (5), 6-3 and could be on track for her first Slam title. She’s won five times this season, including a shellacking of Caroline Wozniacki in two sets at the Toronto hardcourt tournament three weeks ago. She has a championship win over Simona Halep in Rome and a quarterfinal loss to Halep in the French Open.

Svitolina has stealthily reached the upper ranks by and all-around effort.

“A little bit of everything,” she said. “To be a complete player you need to cover all your weaknesses and strengths.”

“Are you physically stronger?”

“Well . . .” she raises her hands with some consternation and much laughter.

“Are you mentally stronger?”

“I’m number four, so probably that’s a good sign,” she replied. “I can’t tell you I’m strongest on tour. Not for me to judge. I do my best, I give 100 percent to be at my best.”

Another early exit for Bouchard

Eugenie Bouchard continues to go the wrong way. After an extraordinary 2014 season in which she was runner up at Wimbledon, reached the semifinals at Australia and Roland Garros and the fourth round of the U.S. Open, Bouchard is out of this year’s Open after one round.

After a decent start on Ashe Stadium Court she lost to Evgeniya Rodina, 7-6 (2), 6-1. This was her 10th first-round loss this season. Her only highlight is a semifinal loss to Johanna Konta at Sydney.

“My confidence is not high at all at this point in time,” said Bouchard, who is unseeded but still considered by Open officials to be a sufficient draw to put her on their feature court. “I definitely had question marks about what my level would be like coming out today.”

At the 2015 Open, Bouchard suffered a concussion after a fall in the locker room and had to withdraw before a fourth-round match. The 2015 season didn’t live up to the previous year. She has a lawsuit over the incident against the USTA that has yet to be resolved.

She said that doesn’t muddle her resolve here.

“I’m able to concentrate on the tennis when I’m here,” she said. “But, I mean, I definitely have bad memories from here two years ago.”

Kypson falls in opening round

Patrick Kypson, the 17-year-old national under-18 champion with family roots on Long Island, lost to Spain’s Adrian Menendez-Maceiras in a first-round duel that had been postponed mid-match by Tuesday’s rain. Menendez-Maceiras, a 31-year-old veteran ranked 148th who reached the Open main draw via the qualifying tournament, won, 6-4, 7-6 (9), 6-1.

Kypson is a North Carolina native whose father grew up in Great Neck, and brought a small rooting section that included his mother, grandmother, uncle and sister.

Dolgopolov upset at questions about gamblers

Bill Simons of Inside Tennis tweeted that Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov ended a “testy exchange” with a small group of reporters following questions about the Tennis Integrity Unit’s investigation of suspicious betting patterns during a Dolgopolov match in Winston-Salem, North Carolina this month.

Simons wrote that Dolgopolov, who yesterday won a five-set, first-round U.S. Open match against Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, insisted that “the media doesn’t care . . . I don’t want to answer stupid questions.”

Dolgopolov had been asked whether he ever had been approached by gamblers. “No, not that I can remember,” he said.

The match being investigated was a straight-sets loss by Dolgopolov, ranked 64th, to Brazil’s No. 114 Thiago Monteiro.

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