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Svitolina survives Pironkova challenge

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Originally published on 01/06/17 00:00

The No.5 seed conceded the first set to the on-song Bulgarian, but she became more assertive as the contest progressed and it paid dividends.

The Ukrainian, who sealed victory with a crunching backhand return winner, said afterwards: "I didn't play her before, but I know her for many years. I think today she was playing really well. I was just waiting for my chance because I didn't play that bad in the first set, but I think she was playing really amazing from the start.

"I was very, very happy that I could find the way to win in the second set, and then really find my game. I think I didn't finish the first set that well, and I was struggling a bit with my movement, but in the end, I was very happy that I could go through this and just find my game and win."

Agnieszka Radwanska is also through after defeating the talented Belgian, Alison van Uytvanck, 6-7(3) 6-2 6-3. The Pole was guilty of being too tentative in the early exchanges and her attack-minded opponent capitalised. The No.9 seed slowly plotted her way back into the match, though, and her variety was a key factor in the eventual outcome.

The 28-year-old said: “I have been struggling with my health for a couple of weeks so I’m just really happy that with one week practice, I could play two really good matches.

“In the first set it was very tight, of course I had my chances but in the important moments she came up with great shots. All I could do in the second set was fight, but I think it was a solid match, and I’m just happy I could play better and better as it went on.”

Alizé Cornet will be Radwanska’s opponent in the last 32. The demonstrative 27-year-old thrilled the locals with a 6-4 6-1 win over Czech No.20 seed Barbora Strycova.

"I always play great matches on Philippe-Chatrier,” remarked Cornet. “It’s so magical and I felt like I was playing really well. It’s great to be in the third round. I tried to stay calm because I had a few opportunities at the start of the match. The difference between her and me is I tried to breathe and take it point by point, tried to vary my game. I think I played well so it feels great."

Simona Halep, still chasing her first Grand Slam title, was untroubled in her second round match. The tournament favourite defeated Tatjana Maria 6-2 6-4 and will play Daria Kasatkina next.

There was not such a straightforward victory for Karolina Pliskova. The No.2 seed was made to work hard but she eventually squeezed past Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2 4-6 6-3. It was an untidy display from the Czech, and she was less than enamoured with her performance.

“Definitely very happy with the win, but I don’t think I played my best tennis,” admitted the 25-year-old. “It’s my first time in the third round here so I’m excited about that.”

Elsewhere, Su-Wei Hsieh from Chinese Taipei reached the third round for the first time after a 6-0 2-6 6-3 win over Taylor Townsend. Daria Kasatkina ended the dream run of 17-year-old Marketa Vondrousova and Magda Linette, who will play Svitolina next, upset the No.29 seed, Ana Konjuh.

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