Elina Svitolina maintains her impressive resurgence after returning from maternity leave, securing a remarkable 6-4 6-3 triumph over Venus Williams in the opening round of Wimbledon. The 43-year-old Williams, a legendary five-time champion at the grass-court Grand Slam, kept fighting and even brushed off a scary fall early in the match, but in the end the former world No.3 emerged victorious.
Williams secured a 2-0 lead right from the beginning. During the third game, on Svitolina’s break point, Williams slipped and fell near the net, emitting a piercing scream that reverberated across the court. Clearly in pain, she remained on the grass for a considerable amount of time, cradling her wrapped right knee. It was a bitter twist for the American, who had recently returned from injury, to face such adversity on her cherished grass court.
Despite the setback, Williams gathered her strength and courageously resumed the match. Nonetheless, Svitolina had already gained momentum, going on an impressive four-game winning streak. Venus even had two opportunities to break Svitolina’s serve as the Ukrainian served for the first set. However, she was unable to convert either of those chances.
The second set witnessed Svitolina swiftly surging ahead with an impressive 5-1 advantage. However, Williams summoned her final reserves of determination, mounting a spirited comeback by securing two consecutive games. The 76th-ranked Svitolina proved resilient, ultimately securing another crucial break and successfully converting her first match point.
Despite the loss, Williams can be proud of her performance today. Just to put things in perspective — she made her Wimbledon debut in 1997, at the time 53 of the players in this year’s draw were not yet born (Svitolina was only two years old).
The 28-year-old Svitolina, who gave birth to daughter Skai Monfils in October 2022, is one of five mothers competing in singles main draw, joining Victoria Azarenka, Tatjana Maria, Barbora Strycova and Yanina Wickmayer. Wearing the Adidas Lawn Dress Pro Dress in her Wimbledon opener, the former Nike player is reaffirming speculations that her new clothing sponsor is Adidas, although an official announcement hasn’t been made yet.