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Elina Svitolina Aims for a Wimbledon Singles Final Against Jabeur or Sabalenka

It was hardly an affront to Svitolina and Vondrousova, but sometimes players seize upon the most innocuous slights to fuel an angry motivation. Jo Durie, the British former player and now a coach and broadcaster, said that in 1983, at the peak of Martina Navratilova’s power, she had once dared to declare publicly that she had a chance to beat the great champion.

Durie made the comment when their Australian Open quarterfinal had been suspended by rain at one set apiece.

“Martina was livid,” Durie recalled on Wednesday. “The next day she said to the press, ‘How dare Jo-Jo say that?’ We all have an ego in this sport, and we all have to use it at some point.”

Durie said her words had been slightly distorted in news reports the following day. But sometimes the smallest things can be used to seek an advantage, and by Saturday’s final, Svitolina or Vondrousova may seek to uphold the honor of her side of the draw, should she play Jabeur.

As popular as Svitolina has become, Durie warned that Vondrousova, the least known player still alive in the draw, could not be overlooked.

After Vondrousova became a French Open finalist in 2019, her career was subsequently affected by injuries. But as a well-rounded left-handed player, she can befuddle opponents with her serve and a variety of shots, from soft and dicey to overpowering.

“Wow, is she talented,” Durie said.

Could this then be the stage where Svitolina’s captivating run comes to an end? Or, if she wins, will she end up facing Sabalenka, a powerful Belarusian player whose nationality makes her an enemy of sorts to Svitolina?

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