Charleston | $100,000 raised for Tennis Plays for Peace

Elina Svitolina, the former World No 3, alongside Ahelina Kalinina, the current Ukrainian No 1, were among the players taking part in a charity pro-am, Tennis Plays for Peace, on the eve of the WTA 500 Charleston Open on Sunday.

I’m really thankful to all the players and the tournament to make this happen. It’s really important to continue helping Ukrainian people. This is really special that we can help in many different ways. Elina Svitolina

The Ukrainians were joined by former US Open champions Sloane Stephens and local favourite Shelby Rogers among other players for the event, which raised $100,000 for Tennis Plays for Peace.

More than a dozen Hologic WTA Tour players, and two dozen amateurs, came together to support Tennis Plays for Peace in the charity pro-am.

“I’m really thankful to all the players and the tournament to make this happen,” said Svitolina, who emceed the event, “It’s really important to continue helping Ukrainian people.

“This is really special that we can help in many different ways.”

Svitolina is making her come-back this week after a year away during which she gave birth to her first child.

Kalinina added: “It’s so great to see everyone coming together to support my home of Ukraine.

“Events like these are so important to keep Ukraine top of mind, and we appreciate the help of the community here.

“Thank you to the Credit One Charleston Open for organising.”

It is the second consecutive year that the tournament has hosted a charity fundraiser for Ukraine.

“Increasing awareness and raising funds for Ukraine is very important to us as a tournament and to our players,” Tournament Director Bob Moran said. “We are passionate about working with Elina, who has a deep and personal understanding of the needs in her home country right now.”

Elina Svitolina, right, with Credit One Charleston Open tournament director Bob Moran at the Tennis Plays for Peace Pro-Am.

Reese Moore/Charleston Open

Svitolina, who received a wild-card into the main draw, faces Yulia Putintseva, a Russian-born who now represents Kazakstan, in the 1st-round.

The 28-year-old from Ukraine, who has been vocal about her feelings on the Russian invasion of her nation, has a 6-1 record over Putintseva, including wins in their last 6 matches.

Svitolina is working with former Dutch pro Raemon Sluiter as she makes her come-back to the tour.

Sluiter has previously worked with Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens, who he coached to the Top 5 in the world rankings.

Meanwhile, ahead of the start of the main draw on Monday, the 2nd-round of qualifying was completed on Sunday and the 6 qualifiers determined, but Britain’s Heather Watson, seeded 10th, was unsuccessful as she narrowly lost out to American Alternate Hailey Baptiste, 7-5 6-3.



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