Emotional Svitolina keeps her Grand Slam dream alive

The Ukrainian burst into tears in her post-match interview over the news that the main children's hospital in Kyiv had been hit by missile strikes

By Reuters

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Ukraine's Elina Svitolina celebrates winning her fourth round match against China's Xinyu Wang. — Reuters
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina celebrates winning her fourth round match against China's Xinyu Wang. — Reuters

Published: Mon 8 Jul 2024, 8:04 PM

Elina Svitolina powered into the Wimbledon quarterfinals with a 6-2 6-1 victory over China's Wang Xinyu on Monday but the result was secondary for the tearful Ukrainian whose thoughts were on the war back home.

Shortly after setting up a showdown with 2022 champion Elena Rybakina, Svitolina burst into tears in her post-match interview over the news that Ukraine's main children's hospital in Kyiv had been hit by missile strikes.

"For sure it was a good performance from my side today. It's a difficult today for Ukrainian people," said Svitolina, before breaking down.

The 21st seed, who last year matched her best run at the grasscourt Grand Slam with a run to the semifinals, wore a black ribbon on her white top on Monday.

"It wasn't easy to focus today on the match. Since the morning it was difficult to read the news. To go on the court is extremely is tough," she added.

Russia rained missiles down on cities across Ukraine in broad daylight, killing at least 36 civilians and badly damaging the hospital in the deadliest air strike in months, officials said.

The Russian Defence Ministry said its forces had carried out strikes on defence industry targets and aviation bases in Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Svitolina, a former world number three and a three-time Grand Slam semifinalist, now faces another big test against Rybakina in a bid to win her first Major title.

Rybakina reached the quarterfinals after ailing Russian 17th seed Anna Kalinskaya retired from their clash with a suspected right forearm injury while trailing 6-3 3-0 on Monday.

Big-hitting Rybakina, who came into the match as the only woman remaining in the decimated draw to have lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish, found herself an early break down but the 2022 champion settled her nerves quickly to reel off the games.

The fourth seed is the also the highest-ranked player left in this year's tournament but said she faced no added pressure heading into the business end.

"Every opponent is difficult and I know that I must always bring my best. That's what I try to do form every match," said Rybakina.

"I'm just really enjoying every time I step out on the court and I'm happy I'm going fine in the draw.

"Hopefully I can go to the end."

Australia's Alex De Minaur reached the quarterfinals for the first time as he beat rising Frenchman Arthur Fils 6-2 6-4 4-6 6-3 on Monday.

The ninth seed looked in control for two sets against the 20-year-old but Fils, bidding to become the youngest Frenchman in the professional era to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal, responded superbly to extend the Court One contest.

De Minaur, watched by his girlfriend Katie Boulter, the British number one, moved clear in the fourth set though to nip the Fils comeback in the bud.

De Minaur has previously reached two Grand Slam quarterfinals, losing to Dominic Thiem at the 2020 US Open and Alexander Zverev at the French Open this year.

Italian Lorenzo Musetti turned party pooper as he ended the dream run of big-serving Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard on the Frenchman's 21st birthday on Monday.

Musetti, the 25th seed, lost the opening set on Court Two but showed his extra quality to win 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-2 and reach the quarterfinal of a Grand Slam for the first time.

Armed with a formidable serve, Mpetshi Perricard had taken full advantage of being a lucky loser from qualifying to advance to the second week on his Wimbledon main draw debut.

In the first round he banged down 51 aces during his defeat of 20th seed Sebastian Korda and had already gone into treble figures ahead of his clash with Musetti.

His 140mph weapon was working well in the opening set against Musetti but when he began to tire the Italian took full advantage to emerge victorious.

"It's such a big day for me and I'm really happy and proud of this win against a tough opponent," Musetti said.

"I struggled a little at the beginning against a big serve. I'm a little bit shaking still but at the end it's a really phenomenal day for me."

Mpetshi Perricard, who looks destined for bigger things after breaking into the world's top 100 in May, fired 10 aces against Musetti but was still broken five times by the 22-year-old.

While his fairytale run is over, Mpetshi Perricard leads the aces charts with 115 for the tournament - a total unlikely to surpassed this year.


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