Svitolina beats Putintseva, advances to fourth round at Australian Open

There were no fans to cheer for fifth seed Elina Svitolina as she beat Yulia Putintseva 6-4, 6-0.

Elina Svitolina makes a backhand return during her third round singles contest. - AP

The rally lasted 41 shots, with the players trading baseline groundstrokes for more than a minute, and when it ended, one person applauded.

SCORE CENTRE

The atmosphere was different for the sixth day of play on Saturday at the Australian Open, with no fans to cheer for No. 5-seeded Elina Svitolina as she advanced to the fourth round by beating No. 26 Yulia Putintseva, 6-4, 6-0.

Svitolina won their marathon rally early in the second set, and the majority of points after that. There was no crowd due to the start of a five-day lockdown imposed by the Victoria State government in response to a COVID-19 outbreak at a hotel.

Up to 30,000 fans daily — 50 per cent of capacity — had been admitted on previous days.

Svitolina, a tour veteran from Ukraine who has won 66 Grand Slam matches, needs one more win to match her best showing in Melbourne. She was a semifinalist at both Wimbledon and the US Open in 2019.

 

Top-seeded Ash Barty of Australia was to play a night match on Saturday against No. 29 Ekaterina Alexandrova. Three American women were on the schedule — No. 22 Jennifer Brady and two unseeded players, Jessica Pegula and Shelby Rogers. No. 2-seeded Rafael Nadal was to continue his quest for a men’s-record 21st major title on Saturday night against Cameron Norrie.

Other men in third-round action included No. 4 Daniil Medvedev, No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas, No. 7 Andrey Rublev, No. 9 Matteo Berrettini and the last American on the men’s side, unseeded Mackenzie McDonald.

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