Quarter-final beyond Svitolina's wildest dreams

Ukrainian didn't expect to make it this far so soon after giving birth

Elina Svitolina, huitièmes de finale, Roland-Garros 2023©Cédric Lecocq / FFT
 - Dan Imhoff

An inspired Elina Svitolina has kept her Grand Slam dream alive, denying Daria Kasatkina to reach a fourth Roland-Garros quarter-final.

Playing in her first major since the 2022 Australian Open and since becoming a mother last October, the Ukrainian rode a wave of crowd support on Court Suzanne-Lenglen to derail the ninth seed, 6-4, 7-6(5).

Story of the match

Despite having her right ankle heavily taped, the toll of two successive three-set matches leading in to this encounter had done little to take the spring out of Svitolina’s step.

She came out of the blocks flying, broke in the third game and climbed to a 4-1 lead. Her heavier groundstrokes consistently found the mark and the 28-year-old served out the opening set in 47 minutes.

Without a match win to her name at the Slams since her semi-final run at Roland-Garros 2022, it had been slim pickings for Kasatkina until her return to Paris this year.

Having not dropped a set in her opening three rounds, the No.9 seed reacted quickly to her first-set blip with an early break in the second, but the momentum shift did not last long.

A third double fault handed the Ukrainian a 4-3 advantage and as she closed to within a game of victory chants of “Elina, Elina, Elina” reverberated around the stadium.

Twice broken as she attempted to serve it out – including one match point going begging at 5-4 – Svitolina threw her arms on her head after sealing it in just under two hours.

Key stats

After falling to compatriot Lesia Tsurenko in the opening round in Rome, Svitolina has not lost since.

Her eighth win on the trot, which includes a 17th career title in Strasbourg, now pits her against either Aryna Sabalenka or American Sloane Stephens for a maiden Roland-Garros semi-final berth.



The victory extends her head-to-head record to 7-0 over Kasatkina and books a first major quarter-final since the 2021 US Open.

Svitolina’s 20 winners – 16 off her forehand – were one more than her opponent’s and her 42 unforced errors four fewer.

What the players said

Svitolina on reaching the quarter-finals: “I definitely wasn’t dreaming about this when giving birth in October last year. It’s unbelievable for me to be able to compete here and go all way to the quarter-finals. It’s a really special feeling. Hopefully I can push even further. I’m really motivated to give my everything for the next matches.

Svitolina on Kasatkina's game: “Daria has a very unique game style. I had to adjust my game. Yesterday on the practice courts I tried to work on a few things tactically. Of course, there was a little bit of nerves in the second set but it’s quite normal, it’s a Grand Slam. Lot’s of little things are going on in the head. Just nice to finish this match in two sets.”