Ukraine's Elina Svitolina stunned world number one Iga Swiatek to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals on Tuesday, just three months after returning from maternity leave.
But some tennis fans from Russia appear to believe the quarterfinal match was a "blatant behind-the-scenes agreement,” with the Polish player throwing the game for political reasons.
Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina has made it to the semifinals of Wimbledon for the second time in her career.
In a thrilling match on Tuesday, July 11, that lasted for 2 hours and 41 minutes, the 28-year-old from Odesa defeated the world's number one player, Swiatek from Poland, with a score of 7:5, 6:7, 6:2.
Svitolina will now advance to the semifinals where she will play against Marketa Vondrousova from the Czech Republic on July 13th.
Swiatek has shown strong support for Ukraine since the full-scale invasion by Russia began.
Despite facing backlash from the Russian public, she continues to wear a cap with the Ukrainian flag on it.
Some commentators on Russian social media sites have suggested that Svitolina's victory was somehow the product of an agreement between Poland, the UK (which is hosting the competition), and Ukraine.
They are even rumours that during the current NATO summit in Vilnius, it was decided to grant Svitolina a ticket to the Wimbledon semi-finals in order to boost morale among Ukrainians.
"Epic throwing off the match. For this, Świątek should be suspended for at least a year and fined. Such a blatant backroom deal, it is utterly perplexing and difficult to comprehend"
“I wouldn't be surprised if, for political reasons, Svitolina gets into the final. It's just disgusting to look at. We need а fair sport, not backroom agreements.”
"Some strange mistakes in (Iga Swiatek's) game, extremely suspicious:)"
"The third set (Iga Swiatek) did everything not to win...)”
Given the comments on Russin social media, it's evident that they seem to be bothered by the Ukrainian player's habit of not shaking hands with her opponents from Russia or Belarus after a match.
"If she’s so principled she should change her tennis racket to a machine gun and go to protect (Ukraine) Weak?. "
"My position has not changed either! Death to the damn 'Banderites'! "
After the game, speaking at the press conference, Elina Svitolina once again thanked Ukrainian troops for their courage and for what they are doing for their homeland.
When asked by journalists about the game with Belarusian Victoria Azarenka on Sunday, July 9, she replied that she felt even more responsibility than in any other match.
"As I said, every time I play against them (Russians and Belarussians) , it's a big motivation and a big responsibility for me, " Elina Svitolina said.
In turn, despite the loss, the Polish tennis star is glad that Elina Svitolina went to the next round of competitions and promised to continue to support the Ukrainian.
Iga Swiatek wants Elina Svitolina to win Wimbledon:— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) July 11, 2023
“I will root for her. Especially because we like each other as people. I told her at the net, I hope she wins this tournament. It’s tough to win a Grand Slam, but I know she wants this really bad. I’ll be rooting for her.” ❤️ pic.twitter.com/IXacbf7PE2
"I will be rooting for her, especially because we like each other as people. I told her at the net that I hope she wins this tournament, "said Iga Swiatek.
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