‘I’m on a mission for Ukraine’ – Elina Svitolina ‘sad but focused’ in Monterrey
In a symbolic moment at the Monterrey Open Elina Svitolina overcame Russian player Anastasia Potapova to advance to the second round and continue her stand for Ukraine.
The 2020 champion wore the yellow and blue of her nation’s flag on court as she downed her opponent 6-2, 6-1 to get her campaign in Mexico rolling.
After the win, Svitolina beat her chest on her heart as she was clearly emotional in victory before sharing a handshake at the net with Potapova.
“It’s a very special atmosphere each time that I play here,” the world number 15 said in her post-match interview.
“And especially today it’s a very special match and moment for me.
“I’m in a very sad mood but I am happy that I am playing tennis here.”
Hand on heart 💜
The No.1 seed @ElinaSvitolina is through in straight sets in Monterrey.#AbiertoGNPSeguros pic.twitter.com/hk74huvgaz
— wta (@WTA) March 2, 2022
The match initially looked like it could be off approaching the contest as Svitolina declared she would not play a Russian or Belarusian opponent should the ATP and WTA not act to ensure players from such nations would be made to compete neutrally, not under their countries’ names or flags.
However, after the governing bodies of tennis, the ATP, WTA, ITF and the Slams, released a joint statement acting on the matter, Svitolina took to court to face Potapova.
“In general I was just focused,” Svitolina continued on her attitude during the match.
“I was on a mission for my country.
“[This is a] a very special event for me, all the prize money that I’m going to earn here is going to the Ukrainian army so thank you so much for the support.”
Svitolina secured $3,675 in prize money for her victory over Potapova, with a quarter-final berth netting her $5,800 should she reach that stage.
She would earn $31,000 to donate to her nation’s forces should she win the event.
On the mission ✊🏼🇺🇦 #Ukraine #StandingWithUkraine #Україна pic.twitter.com/D3FyuF6yXH
— Elina Monfils (@ElinaSvitolina) March 2, 2022
Svitolina will face Bulgarian qualifier Viktoriya Tomova next for a place in the quarter-finals.
After Kamilla Rakhimova lost to fourth seed Sara Sorribes Tormo there are no other Russian players left in the event for Svitolina to face.
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