Ukraine's Elina Svitolina praised Daria Kasatkina's courage to publicly condemn Russia's actions in Ukraine. On Sunday, Svitolina defeated top-ranked Russian female player Kasatkina 6-4 7-6 (5) in the French Open round-of-16.
Last year, Kasatkina publicly criticized Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Kasatkina's public comments didn't sit well with some Russian politicians as there were calls to classify Kasatkina as "a foreign agent." "Yeah, definitely I acknowledged the match today.
Really thankful for her position that she took. Yeah, she's really brave person to say it publicly, that not so many players did. She's a brave one," Svitolina said.
Svitolina has no issues with facing Russian, Belarusian players
Before beating Kasatkina, Svitolina also defeated Russia's Anna Blinkova.
In both matches, Svitolina didn't shake hands with her Russian opponent. By beating Kasatkina, Svitolina set up a French Open quarterfinal against Belarusian tennis star Aryna Sabalenka. "Well, I have played last two matches against Russian players so it will not change, everything will be same.
So I'm used to it now, it's gonna be the same," Svitolina said. Svitolina, who gave birth in October and returned to tennis in April, won Strasbourg before reaching he French Open quarterfinal. "I don't have that pressure that I used to have before.
Of course, me personally, I put pressure for myself because I want to win a Slam. This is the ultimate goal for me. But definitely not the pressure from outside. No one expects that I'm going to come into Roland Garros and make quarterfinal at the beginning of the tournament.
That's why I feel like this really helps me. I feel almost like I'm 17 again coming on the tour fresh. I'm not defending any points. Not here, not next week. Definitely, I feel more free," Svitolina said. Svitolina was out of the top-1000 when she returned to tennis but she will return inside the top-100 after the French Open.
French Open goes to the Japanese Hisatsune
Tokyo Open: Daria Kasatkina battles past Marta Kostyuk into pre-quarters!
The French Open will be relocated in 2025
Tom Kim leads French Open after first round
Gael Monfils posts touching birthday message to wife Elina Svitolina
Gael Monfils shares something about him that even surprised his wife Elina Svitolina