LONDON (REUTERS) – If it wasn't fun in childhood, Elina Svitolina could never have beaten the nerve-wracking victory over Karolina Muchova in Wimbledon on Tuesday (July 9), who saw her becoming the first Ukrainian woman to reach the singles semifinals on a major.
Svitolina only started knocking tennis balls with all the power she could muster from her five-year-old body because she was desperate to get some of the attention that her parents broke on elder brother Yulian.
On Tuesday, however, there was no lack of attention when Svitolina was exposed to invisible Czech Muchova.
After 27 unsuccessful attempts to reach the semi-finals in a Grand Slam, 24-year-old Svitolina knew that it was the case now or never to consider the opponent who was standing before she was a Wimbledon debut who ranked 68th World.
Although he beat 4-1 in the opening set and was broken when she first tried to win the match, Svitolina finally got hold of the nerves to make a 7-5 6-4 victory and set up a semi-final date with Simona Halep.
The Romanian, who at seven is the tallest seed back in the women's traits, beat China's Shuai Zhang in even sets.
The easy relief for Svitolina to finally make it semis was ready to see as she had long expected to challenge the biggest tennis prizes, but until Tuesday all these trials had fallen very short.
Surprisingly, the feat was achieved on Wimbledon's pretty exciting lawns, as Ukraine's game is better suited to the slower surfaces of the sport.
The eighth seed was not complaining, but "It feels great. It's the first semifinal for me, and I actually didn't expect to happen here. It's exciting and I'm looking forward to my semifinal already," Svitolina once said. offered money to change allegiance to Israel.
Svitolina is already the most successful Ukrainian tennis player when she has won more trophies (13) than her compatriots – with Andriy Medvedev, who has the previous record of 11.
But what Svitolina really wants is to conquer a slam.
"It is an incredible achievement to win Wimbledon, to win a Grand Slam, but you must work for it. There is no easy way. You must overcome your fears," she said.
For long periods in the quarterfinals, it felt as if her challenge could fall flat again.
Given that Muchova had been on trial for almost 3-1 / 2 hours Monday, when she overturned third seed Karolina Pliskova in the longest women's match at this year's tournament, it was a little surprising when the Czech Republic stormed into a 4-1 lead .
Muchova took advantage of his high-impact servant-and-volley tactics to rhythm Svitolina, but the Ukrainian knew she could count on much fresher legs to carry her over the finish line.
After drawing the level of 5-5, Svitolina sucked her life out of Muchova in the 11th game, which penetrated for 12 minutes and stretched to six hits before the eighth seed finally delivered the killer stroke on her fifth break.
A forehand volley wins on Svitolina's first setpoint sealed opening and after overcoming the blip of dropping her earner in the first game of the second, she appeared in a semis spot when she earned for the 5-2 game.
However, these irritating nerves were left to plague Svitolina and she was properly broken.
Her heart must have killed at the thought of another missed opportunity – given that she had fallen at this time on four previous occasions with the majesties – but she managed to keep the jites in check to suppress Muchova's spiritual challenge.
"She is a really difficult player and grass fits her. I had to fight for every point, take my options," Svitolina said.
"I really had to push her physically because I knew she was playing three hours yesterday."