ELina Svitolina is very much her own woman. But the 24-year-old Ukrainian has credited fellow-player and beau Frenchman Gael Monfils to help her reach her first grand slam semifinal.
Svitolina had fought with a foot injury on her way into Wimbledon, and it was during this time that Monfils, World 15, was a special support. "The last few months have not been easy for me with my injury," she said. "He was very helpful. We talked a lot. I am a very closed person, I would say.
The couple have become known in tennis circles for their lively social media on the shared Instagram account under GEMS moniker, a merger of their initials.
It may have been a straight-set victory on paper, but Karolina Muchova dominated the opening half-hours. There were times when Svitolina was on the hind leg because of her opponents' unpredictable all-court style and particularly effective use of the servant and volley, and Monfils, who went out of his first round match, was grimacing as if to play each only point. "It is a person who understands what I am going through. It is very useful to me. Finally, it is always me who makes my own decisions. But it is good that he helps me," Svitolina said.