Elina Svitolina continued her remarkable return to professional tennis after her maternity leave by defeating Victoria Azarenka in a thrilling final-set tiebreak to secure a spot in the Wimbledon quarterfinals. It was a hard-fought victory for Svitolina, who had never beaten Azarenka in their previous encounters. Overcoming a set and a break deficit, Svitolina staged an impressive comeback, eventually winning 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 in a gripping match that lasted 2 hours and 46 minutes. The win marked Svitolina’s first-ever triumph over Azarenka in six attempts.
In the quarterfinals, Svitolina will face the current World No.1, Iga Swiatek. This will be their first meeting since Svitolina’s return from maternity leave. In their only prior encounter at the 2021 Rome quarterfinals on clay, Swiatek emerged victorious with a score of 6-2, 7-5.
— wta (@WTA) July 9, 2023
Reflecting on her victory against Azarenka, Svitolina expressed her initial disappointment with her slow start in the match but quickly refocused herself and fought back. She credited her determination and fighting spirit for her comeback, acknowledging that she had to give her all. Svitolina emphasized her eagerness to bring something new to her game in this new phase of her career, highlighting the positive results she has achieved thus far.
Svitolina’s achievement of reaching the Wimbledon quarterfinals as a wild card is a significant milestone. She becomes the first wild card to reach this stage at a Grand Slam event since Sabine Lisicki’s semifinal run at Wimbledon in 2011. In the Open Era, Svitolina is only the third player to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals as a wild card, joining Zheng Jie in 2008 and Lisicki.
10 – Since 2015, the year Elina Svitolina reached her 1st Grand Slam QF, the Ukrainian is one of the four players to appear in 10+ QFs in such events along with Serena Williams (16), Simona Halep (13) and Karolina Pliskova (11). Commendable. #Wimbledon | @WTA @WTA_insider… pic.twitter.com/NGkM21YNHP
— OptaAce (@OptaAce) July 9, 2023
Having already matched her best performance at Wimbledon, when she reached the semifinals in 2019 before losing to Simona Halep, Svitolina now aims to go even further. Her comeback from maternity leave has been impressive, with a title win at Strasbourg and a quarterfinal appearance at Roland Garros. Reaching the quarterfinals at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year is a first for Svitolina. It also marks her consecutive quarterfinal appearances at Grand Slam events since the 2019 US Open, where she reached the semifinals.
The match against Azarenka had its pivotal moments, with Azarenka dominating the first set and taking an early break in the second. However, Svitolina showed resilience and fought back to level the set at 2-2. Despite facing resistance from Azarenka, Svitolina broke serve at 5-4 to claim the second set. The third set saw both players trading blows, and the match eventually went into a tense 10-point match-tiebreak. The tiebreak was a reflection of the overall match, with momentum shifting between the players. Svitolina ultimately sealed the victory with her powerful serve, hitting her eighth ace to close out the match.
The storybook summer for Elina Svitolina continues! pic.twitter.com/2VO2nHkGc7
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) July 9, 2023