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Qualifier Zarazua should be proud of Paris show, says Svitolina

PARIS (Reuters) - Renata Zarazua exited the French Open on Wednesday with a second round defeat but she should be proud of her achievements during her Grand Slam main draw debut, third seed Elina Svitolina said after her battling win over the Mexican qualifier.

Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - September 30, 2020 Mexico's Renata Zarazua in action during her second round match against Ukraine's Elina Svitolina REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

After coming through the Roland Garros qualifiers, Zarazua became the first Mexican woman in more than 20 years to win a main draw match at a Grand Slam since Angelica Gavaldon reached the second round of the Australian Open in 2000.

Her 23rd birthday did not go according to plan but the short-statured Mexican managed to leave a mark under the closed roof of Court Philippe Chatrier by handing a second-set bagel to world number five Svitolina.

“I think in the end she should be really proud of her performance today,” the Ukrainian said of her opponent after completing her 6-3 0-6 6-2 victory.

“She is from the country with not lots of support but not so many players who achieved really big things. I think it gives you more pride. It gives you more confidence of yourself, I think. It’s something that you are always dreaming about.”

Zarazua showed glimpses of her potential when she defeated 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens in February during her run to the semi-finals of the WTA event in Acapulco.

But Wednesday’s match was her first against a top 20 player.

“I didn’t know anything about her coming into the match, so I had to really check her game out,” said Svitolina. “Was a little bit of a surprise for me.

“She is a very solid player. She moves the ball really good. For her small height, I think she moves quite good. I know that she beat Sloane Stephens before. She knows how to play on the big stages. She can play really good tennis.”

Svitolina arrived in Paris after winning a title in Strasbourg on Saturday and also played the quarter-finals in Rome before that.

But the Ukrainian allayed doubts that she was tired.

“To be fair, I’m feeling fine,” she said. “Every athlete I think experiences some kind of tightness or soreness. Me after winning the title, for sure, is a little bit of a different experience because normally I’m more fresher for the Grand Slam.

“Mentally I’m feeling better because I played lots of matches in a row. I’m feeling like I’m into the game mode... I need maybe (an) extra half hour massage.”

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Christian Radnedge