Elina Svitolina dedicated her quarter-final win over Iga Swiatek to Ukraine as the country continues to deal with war
Jessica Pegula reflects on positives and brings perspective to quarter-final defeat
Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner preview their semi-final match
LONDON, ENGLAND – Elina Svitolina dedicated her quarter-final win over Iga Swiatek to Ukraine while Jessica Pegula brought some perspective to her Wimbledon exit on day nine of the third Grand Slam of the season.
Our day nine talking points start with Elina Svitolina who started the tournament as a wildcard but is now into the semi-finals after an attacking performance defeated world number one Iga Swiatek. Svitolina played an aggressive match as she beat her fourth former Grand Slam champion on her way to a second Wimbledon semi-final.
The Ukrainian has gone through a tough year with the invasion from Russia showing no signs of slowing down and after the match Svitolina dedicated the win to her home country.
“Means definitely a lot. I know that lots of people back in Ukraine watching. I got really massive amount of messages from last round,” Svitolina explained.
“I didn’t really check my phone yet today, but I think there will be a lot of messages, a lot of news. I’m happy I can bring little happiness to their life. There was many videos also on Internet where the kids are watching on their phones. This really makes my heart melt seeing this. Just happy I could bring little happiness to people of Ukraine.
“I think it’s mixture of everything. Also I think war made me stronger and also made me, like, mentally stronger. Mentally I don’t take difficult situations as like a disaster, you know? There are worse things in life. I’m just more calmer.
“I think also, because I’m just started to play again, I have different pressures. Of course, I want to win. I have this motivation, like huge motivation, to come back to the top. But I think having a child, and war, made me a different person. I look at the things a bit differently.”
Svitolina’s new perspective and mindset definitely seems to be working for her as she will look to reach her first Grand Slam final on Thursday. When asked about her game Svitolina admitted that she doesn’t feel the pressure anymore like she used to and praised her calmness on the court.
“It’s different right now. Right now I just say to myself I think it’s less years that I have in front than behind me,” Svitolina said in her press conference.
“I have to go for it. I don’t have time to lose anymore. I don’t know how many years I will be playing more. So just I try to tell myself like go for it. You practice for these moments, for these big moments. Like today I was walking through the path where you go to the Centre Court, you see so much history.
“You just realize you practice for these kind of moments. Just I told myself, Go out there, give your best, go for it. This really helped me and calmed me a little bit, as well.”
Svitolina’s calmness has been evident as she has been more aggressive and has been very impressive mentally by never giving up. As for Svitolina’s opponent Swiatek, the world number one spoke about the things that went wrong during the match and why she lost.
“Well, for sure it wasn’t as good as on previous matches. Well, yeah, I didn’t feel today like I could play my best game,” the world number one stated.
“But I gave my all in everything that I could do today, if you know what I mean. Well, for sure, yeah, my forehand wasn’t the best. I’ll still work on it. But honestly, it’s hard for me to, like, point one thing what failed exactly.
“I think Elina was just overall playing aggressively and giving it all in every shot. I felt like she’s playing differently than before, than when we played on clay a couple years back. So for sure I played some mistakes that I shouldn’t do. That’s why I lost. But she also put pressure on me, I think.”
Swiatek will now focus on the US hard court swing as she prepares to defend her US Open title. As for Svitolina, the Ukrainian will face Marketa Vondrousova for a place in her first Grand Slam final on Thursday after the Czech Republican defeated Jessica Pegula.
Speaking of Pegula, the American once again missed out on a Grand Slam semi-final after a painful three set defeat on No.1 Court. Pegula did have a 4-1 lead in the deciding set and a break point for 5-1 before the fourth seed lost five games in a row.
Speaking after the match Pegula admitted she doesn’t know what keeps going wrong in the quarter-finals but is happy that she keeps putting herself into contention to go deep at Grand Slams.
“I have no idea. I don’t know. I was one game away today almost. I don’t really know what the answer is,” a puzzled Pegula said when talking about another Grand Slam quarter-final defeat.
“I keep putting myself in good positions, but I guess it’s not enough. I mean, I guess I was closer today. I really don’t know. It’s better than not putting myself in those positions, which I have to keep reminding myself, even when I don’t really want to listen to the good side of things.
“Yeah, I mean, I’ll just keep working. There’s not like a clear answer for everything, right, to prove that’s going to make me say, Yes, for sure if I do this, I’m going to win a Grand Slam, make semis, make finals, whatever it is. There’s nothing like that. I just have to keep telling myself to put myself in good positions, keep getting better and working on things.”
Pegula will hope that she can break her quarter-final curse in New York at the final Grand Slam of the year. However the American acknowledged her improvement on grass courts and reflected on her circumstances from last year which nearly saw a personal tragedy happen.
“A year ago when I came here, I didn’t have any warm-up. My mom basically almost died,” Pegula reflected.
“I think a year coming around to make quarters, to see that she’s able to watch my match was a huge success for myself and for my family. Looking at the positives, it feels like way longer than a year, but it’s only been a year.
“To look at the positive side, yes, that’s something I’m very proud of, was able to build on momentum. Yeah, hopefully my grass court prowess will be better next year I definitely feel much more comfortable on it. I feel like I’ve gotten through a lot of hurdles on this surface.”
Finally Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner have set a Wimbledon rematch after both player secured four set wins over Andrey Rublev and Roman Safiullin respectively. The match will see a rematch from last year’s battle at the quarter-final stage where Sinner was two sets up before Djokovic came back to win in five sets.
The defending champion spoke about the Italian’s game and labelled him as a complete player.
“He likes to play on quick surfaces because he likes to be aggressive and take control of the point. From both forehand and backhand, he’s smashing the ball really, really hard, trying to be the one that is going to dictate the point from early on. I know his game well,” Djokovic said ahead of the match.
“He’s so young, so of course it’s expected that he’s going to improve. He is improving, no doubt, I think with the serve. He’s been serving better. On grass, obviously makes a difference. He’s a very complete player. Now first time in semis of Wimbledon. I’m looking forward to that challenge.
“We both have two days to recover. I’m sure that he’s going to be very, very motivated to win. On the other hand, I am, too. Let’s see what happens.”
Meanwhile Sinner said playing Djokovic is one of the hardest challenges in tennis but has learned lessons from last year’s defeat.
“Yeah, it’s for sure one of the toughest, if not the toughest, challenge in front of me if Novak wins today because, as I said before, it’s a Grand Slam,” Sinner said about facing the Serb.
“It is a very, very important round, semifinals. He has won 23 Grand Slams. Won Australia, won Paris. He is in a huge confidence boost also. It’s going to be tough, but I will obviously try my best, no? Last year I played a very good match against him. I have learned about it. Hopefully I can show this also on the court.
“I’m going to stay or I’m going to stick with my game plan in my mind, and hopefully I can execute it in the best possible way. So let’s see.”
Sinner’s semi-final against Djokovic will be his first Grand Slam semi-final while Djokovic will compete in his 12th Wimbledon semi-final.
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