Svitolina falls on her return to the slopes a year later

BERLIN, 4 Apr. (dpa/EP) –

The Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, former number three in the world, returned to the WTA circuit for the first time in more than 12 months and lost after almost three hours of battle against the Kazakh Yulia Putintseva (6-7 (3), 6-2, 6- 4) in the first round of the Charleston Open (United States).

Svitolina, 28, had been sidelined by a combination of injuries and pregnancy, and on Monday returned to action for the first time since giving birth to daughter Skai, also the daughter of Frenchman Gael Monfils, in October.

The Ukrainian, who reached the Wimbledon and US Open semifinals in 2019, won the first set after coming back from 3-1 down in the tie-break. But the world number 47 responded and came from behind to prevail in two hours and 48 minutes.