Wednesday, June 07, 2023
In the French Open quarter-finals, Aryna Sabalenka defeated Elina Svitolina, but controversy arose when Svitolina accused Sabalenka of deliberately waiting for a handshake she knew would never happen.
Novak Djokovic continued his quest for a record 23rd Grand Slam title by overcoming a slow start to beat Karen Khachanov. Top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz secured an impressive victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas, setting up a highly anticipated semi-final against Djokovic.
Karolina Muchova also advanced to the semi-finals for the first time.
Sabalenka's win against Svitolina was overshadowed by the handshake controversy. Svitolina had previously stated that she would not shake hands with players from Russia or Belarus due to the conflict in Ukraine.
Sabalenka, from Belarus, responded by expressing her disapproval of the war and distancing herself from Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Despite the tension, Sabalenka maintained that she does not want sports to be involved in politics.
Djokovic faced a tough challenge against Khachanov but managed to turn the match around after losing the first set. He credited his victory to an improved performance in the tiebreak and a higher level of play in the following sets. Alcaraz, a rising star in tennis, impressed with a dominant win over Tsitsipas, maintaining his unbeaten record against the Greek player.
Sabalenka's opponent in the semi-finals will be Karolina Muchova, who defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Muchova, ranked 43rd, reached her second major semi-final, matching her achievement at the Australian Open last year.
The matches in the semi-finals promise excitement and anticipation, particularly the clash between Djokovic and Alcaraz, which is expected to be a significant challenge for Djokovic. Sabalenka's condemnation of Lukashenko's role in the Ukraine war added a political dimension to the tournament, but she emphasised her focus on tennis rather than politics.