French Open: Ukrainian Switolina with victory over Russian in the quarterfinals

French Open
Ukrainian Switolina with victory over Russian in the quarterfinals

The Ukrainian Elina Svitolina (l) and the Russian Daria Kasatkina before the start of the game. photo

© Thomas Samson/AFP/dpa

In October last year, the Ukrainian tennis player Yelena Switolina gave birth. At the French Open she is now playing big. Now the next explosive duel is coming up.

The Ukrainian Jelena Switolina has reached the quarterfinals in her first Grand Slam tournament since the birth of her daughter.

In a duel with the Russian Darja Kassatkina at the French Open, the 28-year-old prevailed 6: 4, 7: 6 (7: 5). Switolina had never gotten further than the top eight in Paris. She and her French husband Gaël Monfils had become parents last year. “I never dreamed that when I became a mother in October,” she said after the game.

As usual, Switolina did not shake hands with her Russian opponent after the round of 16. Because of the Russian war of aggression, Ukrainian professionals do not shake hands with their opponents from Russia and Belarus after the games, which is otherwise common in tennis, and do not pose for photos together.

The next politically explosive duel is in the quarterfinals: Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, second seeded, defeated American Sloane Stephens 7: 6 (7: 5), 6: 4. In the first set, the Australian Open winner lost a 5-0 lead at times, but still mastered her most difficult task in the tournament so far.

Before the game, Svitolina explained that this would follow the example set by the Ukrainian government. “We are Ukrainians, we are all united for one goal, for the goal of winning the war. And we will do everything for it.” At the same time, she had emphasized her respect for Kassatkina, who had been outspokenly critical of the war in the past. “I’m grateful that Dasha takes this position. You expect that from others. That’s really brave of her,” said Switolina.



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