Lesia Tsurenko says she has heard from only a solitary Russian and one Belarusian player who have opposed the invasion of Ukraine after she beat compatriot Anhelina Kalinina to reach the third round at Wimbledon.

The 33-year-old won an all-Ukrainian contest against Kalinina 3-6 6-4 6-3 to set up a clash with Jule Niemeier following the German's upset of second seed Anett Kontaveit on Wednesday.

The pair were cheered on by flag-waving supporters at SW19, while Tsurenko sported a blue-and-yellow.

Tsurenko expressed her disappointment over the lack of vocal opposition from Russian and Belarusian athletes, who are banned from playing at the All England Club, to the war in Ukraine after she moved into round three.

"I would be the first one to say that, no, you should not ban them," she stated.

"But I have heard only from one Belarusian player and from one Russian player, who talked to me personally and told me: ‘I’m against the war.’

"I did not hear anything from any other player. So for me, the silence means … I mean, it's not good when … I don’t know. I thought I had a lot of friends on tour, especially from Russians and Belarusians.

"It’s just a step. [But] it's a good step to show that that's what we all have to do. I am Ukrainian. There is no other opinion in my head."

Anhelina Kalinina and Lesia Tsurenko will face off in the second round of Wimbledon on Wednesday with just one thing in their mind – helping Ukraine's war efforts back home.

Ukrainian pair Kalinina and Tsurenko came through their first-round tests with Anna Bondar and Jodie Burrage respectively on Monday to advance to the next stage.

Both players receive £50,000 for progressing, while £78,000 is up for grabs for the winner of their midweek meeting at the All England Club.

And given the events in Ukraine, where thousands have been killed or wounded since Russia invaded in February and at least 12 million have fled, motivation is not an issue.

"I feel that I play better, just because for me emotionally winning or losing doesn't exist any more," Tsurenko said. "For me, there is a big issue in my life: it's war. And there is nothing else that can beat this.

"I think with all the sportsmen that are able to take part in the competitions, also with all the singers that go to Poland, to Germany, and having all the concerts, that part when Ukrainians can just go and remind the whole world that we are here, we still have war and we need your help.

"This is the main thing that I would wish to happen, that we get a lot of heavy weapons. It's just that we should remind with the fact that we are here and we are playing for my country, for Ukraine. We just want to remind that Ukraine is in trouble and we need help."

Kalinina, who revealed her parents' house in Irpin had been bombed, added: "I understand it’s hard to focus, but for me it matters if I win or if I lose. The more I win, I'm not only helping my family, I'm helping other families and other people.

"You go further. You earn more money. Then I'm able to help, and I'm helping as much as I can and not only to my family. So for me that matters. I'm not a superstar so I'm helping with what I can. And it's a lot to them, and for me that's huge motivation to play. Huge."

Lesia Tsurenko has criticised the ATP and WTA for stripping Wimbledon of its ranking points, insisting that Russian and Belarusian players missing one tournament is not a big price to pay for the atrocities committed in Ukraine.

The two tours made the decision in response to Wimbledon's decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from the tournament. Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has sparked worldwide condemnation, was facilitated by neighbouring Belarus.

Russian and Belarusian players have been allowed to compete on the ATP and WTA Tours under neutral flags, but the saga surrounding Wimbledon not permitting them to do so has prompted doubts over how many players will participate with no ranking points on offer.

Naomi Osaka said she was leaning towards not playing at the All England Club, saying it was "more like an exhibition" without points available, following her first-round defeat at the French Open on Monday.

Ukrainian Tsurenko, who lost to Polish world number one Iga Swiatek at Roland Garros, was emphatic in expressing her disapproval of the decision of the ATP and WTA.

"The Wimbledon decision, of course as a Ukrainian, I think that I should show as much support for my country as I can, and I think it was the right decision from Wimbledon just to show some support from the tennis world," Tsurenko said in her post-match media conference.

"Of course, I didn't like the decision about playing with no points. I hope that, I don't know, I just hope that something will change in the tennis world in the mind of the players and in the mind of our association.

"But for now it is the way it is. Unfortunately for me, but what can we do with that?"

Tsurenko said she expressed her opinion to the WTA "many times".

Asked what reply she received, she added: "Nothing that can make me happy. I think my personal opinion is that as we see a lot of sports, they banned Russian, a number of Russian players and in tennis it's only one tournament.

"I honestly think that this is not a very big price for them to pay or to accept. I think it's not too much, it's not much, really, it's just one tournament.

"But, I don't know, for them they feel like they are losing their job. And I also feel many bad things, I feel a lot of terrible things and I think compared to that, losing a chance to play in one tournament is nothing."

Tsurenko also criticised a lack of support from the governing bodies and her fellow players, though she praised Swiatek, who wore a pin in support of Ukraine.

"For me personally it's tough to be here, just because I don't get much words said about the support of my country and this is, yeah, it's just tough to be with people who look like they don't understand," said Tsurenko. 

"It's just tough. It's just because it's me, I'm Ukrainian, and there's a war in my country and it's tough. I think five players spoke to me, maybe four or five. Maybe a few more coaches.

"I would like to get more support probably, but what can I do?

"I really appreciate the support that Iga is showing and I know that Poland in general is doing so much for Ukraine and that, I mean, they are amazing in general, the people, the president of Poland, the politics, everyone, just amazing support for Ukrainian people, for Ukrainian refugees and what I see on the TV, the friendship between Ukraine and Poland is amazing.

"I want the whole world to see that Ukraine is a beautiful country with beautiful people. I don't know if I can ask players to care more, but I would like to see that from the players, from the WTA, from ATP, I would like top players just to support more and to show more understanding of what is really going on.

"Because it's just life and life is, as I said before, more than a tennis match."

Iga Swiatek cruised into the second round of the French Open with a dominant straight-sets win over Lesia Tsurenko.

World number one Swiatek is looking to regain the title she claimed in 2020 and is the form player on the WTA Tour this season, winning each of her last five tournaments.

Tsurenko was ranked 23 in the world as recently as 2019 but has struggled with injuries and had to come through qualifying at Roland Garros.

And there was an obvious gulf between the two on Court Philippe-Chatrier as Swiatek surged to a 6-2 6-0 victory.

The Pole dropped just two points in the first three games and, though Tsurenko did claim a break back to reduce Swiatek's lead to 5-2, she was then immediately broken to love, going long to surrender to the inevitable.

Swiatek's arsenal of groundstrokes, touch at the net, and impeccable movement proved far too much for Tsurenko in the second set.

A vicious forehand return of a tame second serve wrapped up Swiatek's 29th consecutive win in 54 minutes, an emphatic illustration of her status as the tournament favourite.

Swiatek will face either Alison Riske or another Ukrainian, Dayana Yastremska, in the second round.

 

Data Slam: Swiatek seals win 38

With wins in Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart, and Rome, Swiatek has served as the dominant force in the women's game this season. Including Billie Jean King Cup qualifiers, she has now won 38 matches in 2022, two more than she did in 2021.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Swiatek – 20/13
Tsurenko – 11/23

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Swiatek – 0/1
Tsurenko – 0/0

BREAK POINTS WON
Swiatek – 6/9
Tsurenko – 1/2

World number one Ash Barty kicked off her Australian Open title bid with a convincing straight-sets victory over Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko on Monday.

The two-time grand slam winner, whose previous best finish on home soil at Melbourne Park was a run to the semi-finals in 2020, prevailed 6-0 6-1 in a time of just 54 minutes.

Barty held serve throughout the one-sided contest with Tsurenko and is now unbroken in 41 successive service games across her last four matches.

"It's certainly nice to be back on home soil and playing as well as I did tonight. It was a lot of fun out here," Barty said in her on-court interview.

"I felt like it was nice and clean. End-to-end I did a good job in adjusting. Tonight it was just nice and solid to get out here and play a decent match and feel like I enjoyed it."

Tsurenko took Barty to three sets when they met in this competition two years ago, but the world number 113 was outclassed on this occasion.

Looking to build on her recent Adelaide International success, Barty eased through the first set as she dropped just 12 points.

Barty was just as dominant in the second set, but she squandered two match points in the sixth game to miss out on a double-bagel to begin her campaign in Melbourne.

Not that it mattered a great deal, though, as the 25-year-old emphatically served out the match to set up a meeting with Italian qualifier Lucia Bronzetti for a place in round three.

 

DATA SLAM: Barty makes statement start

Barty came through this first-round match with minimal stress and looks in great shape as she bids to become the first Australian to win here since 1978.

The pressure is no doubt on as the pre-tournament favourite, with no top-seeded player in the women's draw failing to make at least round four since Virginia Ruzici in 1979.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Barty – 14/17
Tsurenko – 4/21

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Barty – 5/0
Tsurenko – 0/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Barty – 5/8
Tsurenko – 0/2

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