Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina emerged triumphant in a gruelling match on Thursday, August 31, when she overturned a deficit to beat Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in the 2023 US Open second round.
Securing the victory with her 10th ace on match point after a nearly three-hour-long battle, Svitolina was met with an enthusiastically supportive audience at Louis Armstrong Stadium.
In the midst of the fierce match, Svitolina captured the hearts of spectators with a heartfelt query to the chair umpire, asking if her husband and tennis pro Gael Monfils had started his match during the changeover.
Svitolina made a comeback to tennis in April 2023, following the birth of her daughter with Monfils. The tennis sensation acknowledged drawing motivation from her husband during her game.
In her on-court interview, she noted, “I tried to get a little motivation from him… I needed to change my head a little bit because I was not playing my best. I had to bring different energy and I was thinking about him a little bit.”
Following her impressive performance at this year’s Grand Slams where she made it to the semi-finals of Wimbledon and the quarter-finals of the French Open, Svitolina’s victory over Pavlyuchenkova improved her Grand Slam record to an impressive 11-2 this season.
This success shines even brighter considering Svitolina’s resilient spirit amidst the geopolitical chaos stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Noteworthily, she chose not to shake hands with her Russian opponent at the end of the match, reflecting the deep-seated tensions between their countries.