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Elina Svitolina repeated her Wimbledon victory over Victoria Azarenka in the first round of the DC Open with supporters given a warning the players would not shake hands at the end of the match.
The message, shown on the scoreboard after the first set of Svitolina’s 7-6 6-4 win in Washington, was designed to prevent the boos which marred their clash at the All England Club.
Ukrainian Svitolina has not shaken hands with opponents from Russia or Azarenka’s native Belarus during the current conflict.
Wimbledon semi-finalist Svitolina, playing her first hardcourt match since March last year after giving birth to her daughter Skai, said: “It’s the right thing. I asked for the WTA to respect the decision of Ukrainians. And they did.”
Both players headed straight to the sidelines and the match umpire after the tight one hour, 47 minute clash.
Two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka, on her 34th birthday, said the warning to fans had arrived “about… 18 months too late” and asked whether it was a big story.
On the court, Svitolina rattled off 11 straight points to open a 3-0 lead, only for Azarenka to win five games in a row before she failed to serve for the first set and Svitolina won another three straight games.
The Ukrainian also failed to serve out for the set but eased to a 7-2 win in the tie break.
Breaks of serve continued to dominate in the second set with just one hold as Svitolina sealed victory.