Of the six women capable of finishing the Australian Open fortnight with the No.1 ranking, it is perhaps Elina Svitolina about whom the least is known. Simona Halep is the incumbent, and Caroline Woznicki, Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova have all been there before. Jelena Ostapenko, like Muguruza, is a reigning Grand Slam champion.
The dogged Ukrainian’s fourth seeding is equal to her highest at a major. Her five WTA singles titles last year were the most on tour, as were her victories over top 10 opponents, while her match wins (53) were second only to the indefatigable Wozniacki (60). She was twice within reach of top spot.
And now is again.
This year has started positively, with Svitolina undefeated at the Brisbane International, and now into the third round at Melbourne Park. Having swept through her opener 6-3 6-2 against Serbian qualifier Ivana Jorovic, the 23-year-old survived a far more serious challenge from 59th-ranked Katerina Siniakova, recovering from a shaky start and withstanding some heavy, if erratic, hitting to prevail 4-6 6-2 6-1 on a roasting Rod Laver Arena.