Svitolina only returned to tennis three months ago following the birth of her daughter, Skaï Monfils, in October and, currently ranked world No. 76, was given a wildcard to compete at this year’s Wimbledon.
Her incredible run at SW19 now includes wins over four grand slam champions – Venus Williams, Sofia Kenin, Victoria Azarenka and Świątek – and equals her career best performance in a grand slam, matching her semifinal appearances at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2019.
“I don’t know what is happening right now in my head, but just I’m really, really happy that I’ve got this chance to play here again and for playing this great match in a great atmosphere. It was really an unbelievable feeling for me,” Svitolina said in her on-court interview.
“It wasn’t easy to play against Iga today; obviously, she’s No. 1, but today was an unbelievable match and I’m really happy I could win this one.
“Iga is a great player but also a great person, she was one of the first ones that really helped Ukrainian people and it was a huge help,” Svitolina added, praising Świątek for her continued vocal support of Ukraine. “So for sure, it’s not easy to play against someone that you share a lot of good moments with and I think for her it was not easy.
“In the end, just really proud of the effort I made today and really thank you so much for cheering for me all the way.”
Svitolina said the first thing she was going to do was “have a beer,” an answer that drew huge cheers from the Centre Court crowd.
“At the beginning of the tournament, if someone told me I would be in the semifinals and beat the world No. 1, I would say they’re crazy,” she laughed.
Świątek, who has worn a yellow and blue ribbon or badge on her hat since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, was blown away by Svitolina’s accuracy and power in the third and deciding set.
Though the Pole will surely be disappointed to exit at the quarterfinal stage, her run this year marks an improvement on her previous best performance at Wimbledon, a fourth-round appearance in 2021, as she continues to look more at home on the grass – the only surface she has never won a senior title on – with each passing year.
Svitolina will now face the Czech Republic’s Markéta Vondroušová, another unseeded player, in Thursday’s semifinal after she upset world No. 4 Jessica Pegula earlier on Tuesday.