Tennis: Mum's the word as Svitolina reaches French Open last 16

AFP , Friday 2 Jun 2023

Ukraine's Elina Svitolina won a tough three-set battle to defeat Anna Blinkova of Russia to reach the French Open last 16 on Friday in her first Grand Slam since becoming a mother.

Elina Svitolina
Ukraine s Elina Svitolina (L) and Russia s Anna Blinkova (C) compete during their women s singles match on day six of the Roland-Garros Open tennis tournament at the Court Simonne-Mathieu in Paris on June 2, 2023. Photo: AFP

Svitolina came through 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 against an opponent she had also defeated in the Strasbourg final last weekend.

Once again, Svitolina chose not to shake hands with her rival in protest at Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

A three-time quarter-finalist in Paris, Svitolina had to twice serve for the match in the 10th and 12th games of the decider.

She claimed victory on a third match point with a crunching backhand winner to see off Blinkova who had knocked out fifth-ranked Caroline Garcia in the last round.

"I wasn't moving well in the first set but I tried to fight and find my game," said Svitolina, watched courtside by her husband, French tennis star Gael Monfils.

"After the first set, I was playing better and better and just tried to give everything.

"I played well under pressure and just decided to leave everything out there."

Svitolina, who hit 37 winners in Friday's win, will face another Russian, ninth-seeded Daria Kasatkina, for a place in the quarter-finals.


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