Elina Svitolina continues stunning Wimbledon run by downing top seed Iga Swiatek

By Sports Desk July 11, 2023

Elina Svitolina claimed the mother of all victories by knocking out world number one Iga Swiatek to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals.

The unseeded Ukrainian, who only gave birth to her daughter Skai nine months ago, ousted top seed Swiatek with a dramatic 7-5 6-7 (5) 6-2 victory on Centre Court.

Swiatek, just as she had in her previous match against Belinda Bencic, came from a set down to draw level and seemed to have snatched the momentum.

But with Jeremy Clarkson watching from the crowd, Svitolina found top gear just when she needed it to secure a famous victory.

“I don’t know what is happening right now, it’s really unbelievable,” Svitolina, also a semi-finalist here in 2019, said.

“I’m really, really happy that I got this chance to play here again. I was fighting, it was not easy. Iga is world number one and always fighting. It was an unbelievable match and I’m really happy I could win this one.”

Swiatek looked dialled in from the start this time, breaking the Svitolina serve in the opening game.

But as she served for the set, the 22-year-old from Warsaw gifted Svitolina a break back to love with an uncharacteristically sloppy game, topped off with a double-fault.

Swiatek was rattled and Svitolina began finding her range, punishing a second serve to bring up two set points and edging in front when Swiatek’s backhand floated long.

A slight delay as the roof was closed gave Swiatek a chance to regroup but a hold to love at the start of the second set meant Svitolina had won 10 of the previous 12 points.

However, nerves started to kick in when, at 40-0, Svitolina missed the simplest of volleys at the net and then double-faulted, allowing Swiatek to break.

Swiatek then got a dose of the jitters herself, a double-fault giving Svitolina two break points and a long forehand levelling the set at 3-3.

Svitolina dug out a second ace of the match to go 4-1 ahead in the tie-break but Swiatek reeled her back in with a couple of rasping forehands which clipped the line and an exquisite backhand winner.

But Svitolina came again, breaking the reigning French and US Open champion twice to lead 4-1 in the decider.

Two more aces made it 5-1 and despite some late resistance from the Pole Svitolina came through, covering her mouth with her hand in utter shock when Swiatek hit the net on match point.

Swiatek has been a huge supporter of the Ukrainian cause following the Russian invasion and wears a blue and yellow ribbon in her cap.

Svitolina, whose emotional win over Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the fourth round was one of the matches of the tournament, added: “Iga is not only a great champion but an unbelievable person.

“She was one of the first who really helped the Ukrainian people, she was a huge help. So for sure it’s not easy to play someone that you share a lot of good moments. Not easy for her either but I’m really proud I could win this one.”

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