Elina Svitolina, the 28-year-old Ukrainian tennis player who recently returned from maternity leave after becoming a mother last October, caused a major upset at Wimbledon by defeating top-ranked Iga Swiatek in the quarter-finals on Tuesday. Svitolina’s victory over the four-time Grand Slam champion surprised spectators and marked one of the tournament’s biggest upsets.
Swiatek, the reigning French Open champion, was playing in the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time. As the favorite to advance, her game was plagued by errors, allowing Svitolina to capitalize on crucial points. The Ukrainian player appeared stunned when she secured a hard-fought victory with a score of 7-5, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, much to the delight of the Centre Court crowd.
In the upcoming semi-finals, Svitolina will face another unseeded player, Marketa Vondrousova from the Czech Republic, who caused an upset of her own by defeating American fourth seed Jessica Pegula 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 earlier in the day.
This will be Svitolina’s second appearance in the Wimbledon semi-finals, following her defeat to eventual champion Simona Halep at the same stage in 2019. Her recent journey back to professional tennis has been remarkable, considering she gave birth to her daughter, Skai Monfils, in October and returned to the WTA tour in April. Svitolina received a wild-card entry to Wimbledon shortly after reaching the quarter-finals at the French Open.
Following her impressive victory, Svitolina expressed her surprise and joy. “First of all, I’m going to have a beer, probably,” she said on court. “At the beginning of the tournament, if someone had told me that I would be in the semi-finals and beat the world No. 1, I would have just said that they’re crazy.”
During her match against Swiatek, Svitolina, currently ranked 76th, showcased her dominance by winning 20 of 22 points at one point on Centre Court, including 16 of the final 18 points in the first set. Throughout the tournament, she has defeated four Grand Slam champions, including Venus Williams in the first round, Sofia Kenin in the third, Victoria Azarenka in the fourth, and now Swiatek in the quarter-finals.
Svitolina’s remarkable journey at Wimbledon has captivated fans and brought attention to her resilience and skill as she balances motherhood with professional tennis. As she prepares for the semi-finals, tennis enthusiasts eagerly await the next chapter in her inspiring comeback story.