Tennis: Svitolina battles past Van Uytvanck in Wimbledon opener

Elina Svitolina celebrates her win over Belgium's Alison van Uytvanck.
Elina Svitolina celebrates her win over Belgium's Alison van Uytvanck.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - World number five Elina Svitolina was made to work hard in a tight first-round match at Wimbledon on Wednesday (June 30) as the Ukrainian sealed a 6-3 2-6 6-3 victory over unseeded Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck.

The pair traded breaks at the start of their second career meeting before Svitolina gained the upper hand following a tight game to go 4-2 up and the third seed held off a late fightback to claim the first set.

The aggressive Van Uytvanck mixed up her shots, with rifled drives and delicate drops, and took every chance to approach the net to break Svitolina for a 3-1 lead in the second set before levelling the match at one set apiece.

Both players wobbled on serve before 2019 semi-finalist Svitolina rediscovered her rhythm in the decider on Court One to close out the victory with a forehand winner.

"The return was quite good for me today. I was striking the ball really good. On important moments, I was calm and my shots were quite good in the end," Svitolina, who converted six out of 11 break point opportunities, told reporters.

There was little to separate the two with Svitolina sending down 34 winners - one more than Van Uytvanck - and both making 27 unforced errors.

"I'm just happy the way I was tracking the ball and that I could hold my nerve. This was very important for me today," Svitolina added.

In the second round, the 26-year-old takes on Poland's Magda Linette who beat unseeded American teenager Amanda Anisimova 2-6 6-3 6-1.