Mertens held serve a handful of points later, and would break Svitolina to love in the following game. That dynamic plays out at every level of our sport.
For the returner, the excitement of manufacturing break point is quickly replaced with the disappointment of not converting it. For the server, the anxiety of facing break point is replaced with the exhilaration of holding, and that positive wave of energy facilitates the immediate break in the next game.
You can see it coming a thousand mile away.
Mertens was empowered by the hold and cracked four winners against Svitolina in the following game. At 0-30, Svitolina hit a 150 km/h first serve to Mertens’ forehand return. The Belgian stepped inside the baseline and cracked a 122 km/h return winner cross court. At 0-40, Mertens laced a backhand return that Svitolina barely touched.
A couple of minutes earlier, Mertens was in a very precarious position. Now she was running away with the match. Hello, momentum.
Mertens did everything well in this match, and brings a rampaging all-round game into the Australian Open semifinals.
Her serve was outstanding against Svitolina. She was broken only once, and won an impressive 11 of 17 of her second serve points, including all five she hit in the second set.