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By Erik Gudris | @atnennis | Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Elina Svitolina is enjoying yet another successful run at Wimbledon. Yet she hopes her on-court victories keeps the focus on the ongoing conflict in her native Ukraine.

The No. 21 seed Svitolina eased her way into the quarterfinals with a convincing 6-2, 6-1 win over China’s Wang Xinyu on Monday. Svitolina earned the win with a solid 21 winners and eight aces.

MORE: AELTC Confident of Completing Wimbledon on Time Despite Constant Rain

Svitolina entered Court No. 2 wearing a black ribbon on her kit after Russian missiles hit cities across Ukraine on the same day. The attacks included one on at Kyiv’s Okhmatdyt hospital, the nation’s largest children’s medical center that killed over 30 people according to CNN.

The 29-year-old Svitolina, a two-time Wimbledon semifinalist, fought back tears during her on-court interview as she acknowledged the attacks.

“It was a good performance from my side today and it’s a very difficult day today for Ukrainian people,” Svitolina said afterwards. So it was not easy to focus on the match today and since the morning it’s very difficult to read the news and just to go onto the court is extremely tough, so I’m happy that I could play today and get a win. Thank you for the support.”

In her post match press conference, Svitolina said being able to play at Wimbledon and speak out about Ukraine motivated her during the match, despite it being a difficult day for her.

“Yeah, of course this is one of the things that motivated me today, was just I have to put my head down and show up and do my best, my very best. Every Ukrainian is using their own way to raise awareness, to raise money, to help in every possible way they can.

“My way is through tennis. This what's really motivated me today to do something. I tried to be focused on my job, tried to be focused on what I can control. Just do what I can in a way.”

“I’m playing, of course, such an amazing event as Wimbledon. I have to also think about how I can use that in a way for Ukrainian people. At least with my win today, it was a small light that brought a happy moment for Ukrainian people. I got so many messages today. The people are thankful for my performance, for my win today. Of course, it's brings me a lot of, let's say, joy in a way of this sad day.”

Svitolina is thankful that Wimbledon organizers allowed her to wear the black ribbon despite the very strict dress code at the All-England Club.

“Yes, it's been approved by the Wimbledon today, the black ribbon. I feel like it would be understandable after such a big attack for my country.

Svitolina, who reached the semifinals last year, is hopeful to perhaps finally reach the final, but is taking it one match at a time.

“Yeah, it's for sure for me such a big event. I want to play well here and try to do my very best to defend the semifinal. But also I think important for me to take one match at a time. I've been doing that quite well. I think I had great matches from the first round. Very tough opponents. I've been playing well, handling the pressure well. So just I try to go out there and do my very best for the next one.”

Svitolina will next face Elena Rybakina in the quarterfinals.

Photo Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images