Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina made a victorious comeback to Grand Slam action. The former World No.3 toppled No.26 seed Martina Trevisan of Italy 6-2, 6-2 to book a spot in the second round of the French Open.
In her first Grand Slam event since the 2022 Australian Open, Svitolina continued her resurgent return from maternity leave by ousting last year’s Roland Garros semifinalist Trevisan after just 70 minutes of play. Trevisan was also a Roland Garros quarterfinalist in 2020.
"Right now I'm just gaining points and coming back to the level, coming back to the tour," Svitolina said in her post-match press conference. "So everything is kind of old and new for me right now. Just want to enjoy each opportunity at each tournament that I get. Just play good tennis. Try to enjoy out there, and then, you know, see how it goes."
Svitolina is now 10-0 in first-round matches at the French Open. A three-time Roland Garros quarterfinalist, Svitolina never faced a break point against Trevisan, who cracked the Top 20 earlier this year.
"I feel like I'm as strong as I was before, maybe even stronger," Svitolina said, "because I feel that I can handle the work that I do off the court, and match by match I'm getting better.
"The puzzles are getting slowly into place. We can see the result, that I'm playing well, and most importantly I'm happy with the level that I show right now. That's what I want to build on."
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Svitolina, who returned to action at Charleston in April after a year off tour, has now won five straight matches. On Saturday in Strasbourg, she collected her 17th career WTA singles title. and has skyrocketed from outside the Top 500 to back inside the Top 200 in this week's updated singles rankings.
"It was always in my head the plan to come back, but I didn't put any pressure on myself, because obviously with the war going on, with the pregnancy, you never know how complicated it will go," Svitolina said. "So I just decided, I'm just gonna let it go and then see how's it gonna be, how I'm gonna feel after three months post-pregnancy.
"In the end, everything went well. I was very motivated. ... [I got] back to fitness, to tennis the second of January. Everything went well, and I was rested. I was motivated and ready to work and make the comeback."
After clinching her first title in nearly two years last week, Svitolina also pledged to donate her Strasbourg tournament winnings to humanitarian aid for Ukrainian children.
"These moments bring joy to people of Ukraine, to the kids as well, the kids who loved to play tennis before the war and now maybe they don't have the opportunity," Svitolina said after her win in Paris. "These moments that can motivate them to look on the bright side and see these good moments and enjoy themself as much as they can in this horrible situation.
"Right now [it's] my focus, and I want to invite everyone to focus on helping Ukrainians. That's the main point of this, to help kids, to help women who lost their husbands because they are at war and they are fighting for Ukraine. We are missing the main point that people now at this time, they need help as never before."
Svitolina will next face Australian qualifier Storm Hunter in the second round. Hunter, ranked a career-high at No.5 in doubles, outlasted Spain’s Nuria Parrizas Diaz 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday to notch her first Grand Slam main-draw singles win. Hunter had lost her first seven main-draw singles matches at majors before breaking through in Paris.