In the absence of a handshake, Russian player Kasatkina gave a thumbs-up to Ukraine’s Svitolina at the end of the match
Dates: 28 May-11 June Venue: Roland Garros, Paris
Coverage: Live text and radio commentaries of selected matches across BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra, the BBC Sport website and app

Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina says she “feels 17 again” after reaching the French Open quarter-finals in her first Grand Slam since becoming a mother.

The former world number three beat Russian ninth seed Daria Kasatkina 6-4 7-6 (7-5) to reach the last eight.

“I don’t have the pressure I used to have,” Svitolina, a Wimbledon and US Open semi-finalist in 2019, said.

“No-one expects that I’m going to come to Roland Garros and make the quarter-finals. I feel this really helps me.”

Svitolina had daughter Skai with French player Gael Monfils in October and is playing in only her sixth tour-level tournament since returning to tennis in April.

She is on an eight-match winning streak having claimed the title in Strasbourg in the build-up to Roland Garros.

The 28-year-old admitted she “didn’t dream” this scenario would happen when she was giving birth less than a year ago.

“Of course, personally I put kind of pressure on myself because I want to win a Grand Slam. This is the ultimate goal for me,” she said.

“But definitely not the pressure from outside. I feel almost like I’m 17 again coming on the tour fresh. I’m not defending any [ranking] points.”

Svitolina, who is chasing a first Grand Slam title, will next face Belarusian second seed Aryna Sabalenka or American Sloane Stephens, who reached the 2018 final on the Paris clay.

The Ukrainian’s run also comes in her first appearance at a major since Russia invaded her country in February 2022.

Svitolina did not shake hands with Kasatkina, but said she acknowledged the 26-year-old Russian at the end of the match because she has been “brave” to criticise her nation’s actions.

Kasatkina gave Svitolina a thumbs-up at the end of the match, with Svitolina saying of her opponent: “I’m really thankful for her position that she took. She’s really brave person to say it publicly, not so many players did.”

Having played four Russian opponents since her comeback and not shaking hands with any of them, Svitolina says “everything will be the same” if she plays Sabalenka.

Earlier on Sunday, Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a runner-up at the 2021 French Open, fought back from a set down to beat Belgian 28th seed Elise Mertens 3-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-3.

Pavlyuchenkova, who has slipped to 333rd in the world rankings after a knee injury kept her out for five months last year, will play Karolina Muchova in the quarter-finals.

The Czech, who had never gone further than the third round at Roland Garros, claimed a 6-4 6-3 victory over Russian lucky loser Elina Avanesyan on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

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