Wimbledon 2023: Laura Robson backs Elina Svitolina to complete ‘Cinderella story’, first Grand Slam win at SW19

Laura Robson let Elina Svitolina complete her «Cinderella story» by beating Marketa Vondrousova and Aryna Sabalenka to win her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.

The former British No 1 sat down to give his expert opinion to Eurosport ahead of Thursday’s semi-final.

Svitolina played like a dream at SW19 just three months after returning to the field from maternity leave, defeating top seed Iga Swiatek in the quarterfinals.


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«I think you could sum up her whole week and a half as an absolute battle,» Robson said.

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“She somehow managed to get this position just by competing so well.

“She’s moving better than ever, and I can’t believe she’s just had a baby at nine months, just a few months since she came back from maternity leave. I think it’s a Cinderella story.»

Svitolina faced Czech world number 42 Marketa Vondrousova in the first semi-final of the day on Center Court.

«[Vondrousova] is one of my favorite players to watch. She was crafty,” said Robson.

“She’s a left-handed person, so I’m a little biased.

“I like a left-hander on grass where they can swing wide and she uses her forehand very well, but if I had to choose who would make it through that first semi-final, I would pick Elina. «

The other semi-final will feature an exciting battle between runner-up Ons Jabeur 2022 and Australian Open champion Sabalenka.

Sixth seed Jabeur took the overall win in the quarterfinals, coming back from a set to knock out defending champion Elena Rybakina.

«[She] Robson added.

“She is extremely cunning, but she plays with less variation than you usually see in her because she knows she has to play more aggressively.

“She has to be a little more consistent from the start and just wait, wait for the right opportunity to come forward to do something different. And she fought.

«She’s probably more intense than I’ve ever seen on the pitch, and that started a few days ago.

“You can see the difference in her mentality before this match. And she has another big, big hitter [next].”

World No 2 Sabalenka beat Madison Keys in her quarter-final, and Robson imagines the Belarusian will reach her second Grand Slam final of the season following her win in Melbourne.

«[Sabalenka] had an easy win over Madison Keys,» Robson said.

“Relatively easy, not too challenging other than falling a bit in the second set.

“I think if I had to pick one, I would have to pick a heavy hitter. I think I will go Sabalenka here.

«I just feel like Ons wouldn’t be able to play her style of play at such a fast pace on her racquet.»

After predicting who would make it to the top game at the All England Club, former British No 1 Robson voted to see who would be crowned champion.

«It’s hard, but I think I’ll go with the fairy tale, and I’ll pick Elina Svitolina to win her first Grand Slam.»

Regardless of who wins Saturday’s final, there’s bound to be a sixth consecutive first-time champion at Wimbledon this year.

When asked why she thinks the pattern is continuing, Robson said: «We’re seeing new faces come out at Wimbledon because the turf allows you to do that.

“You may not need to have the same experience as you would on slower surfaces, but the grass plays differently every year.

“The people you expect to do well are not necessarily enjoying the conditions, agreeing with the appearance and agreeing to the annual changes.

“It’s a direct surface, so you’ll never have the same surface twice and you’ll never have the same bounce twice in a row.

“Newbies can adjust as they get started. But all of these names have been there, done it, and to see all four of them make it to the semi-finals, I don’t think it’s a big surprise.»

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Stream daily highlights from Wimbledon at 10pm UK time, as well as the two singles finals on 15 and 16 July, on Discovery+, the Eurosport app and at eurosport. com


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