Ukrainian defeats world No. 1 at Wimbledon, 9 months after having baby

Elina Svitolina defeated Iga Swiatek in three sets in front of a packed crowd on Centre Court.
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina at Wimbledon
Posted at 1:28 PM, Jul 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-11 13:28:30-04

Ukraine's Elina Svitolina earned a spot in the Wimbledon semifinals on Tuesday after knocking off world No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland. 

Svitolina defeated Swiatek in three sets in front of a packed crowd on Centre Court. 

The Ukrainian, who has been ranked as high as No. 3 in the world, took a break from the tour last year, citing the emotional toll of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. She later announced she was pregnant. 

Svitolina gave birth to her baby girl Skaï in October, and returned to the tour in April. 

Currently ranked 76th in the world, Svitolina needed a wildcard to get into Wimbledon. 

"If at the beginning of the tournament, if someone would tell me that I would be in the semifinal by beating world No. 1, I would tell them they're crazy," Svitolina said after her quarterfinal victory. 

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus leaves the court after losing to Ukraine's Elina Svitolina.

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Elina Svitolina of Ukraine urged tennis authorities to publicize the fact that Ukrainians won’t be shaking hands with Russian and Belarusian players.


Svitolina has been vocal about representing her country in her comeback. She's come out in favor of banning Russian and Belarusian players from international competitions, including Wimbledon and the 2024 Olympics.

Wimbledon allowed Russians and Belarussian players to compete this year. They were banned from competing in the 2022 event. 

In solidarity with players from her country, Svitolina has refused to shake hands with opponents from Russia or Belarus after a match. 

The decision has often been met by "boos" from the crowd, many of whom may not know the reason for the snub. 

Spectators take their seats under a screen announcing the the first round match of the French Open tennis tournament.

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Marta Kostyuk has been critical of athletes like Aryna Sabalenka, claiming they have not taken a stand against Russia's invasion of Ukraine.