Sports, Tennis

Yastremska’s fairytale run upsets Azarenka

Published : 22 Jan 2024 09:40 PM

Fearless Ukrainian qualifier Dayana Yastremska continued her fairytale run with stunning two-time champion Victoria Azarenka to move into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Monday.  

Driven by a booming serve and aggressive groundstrokes, the athletic 23-year-old battled past the Belarusian 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena. Her reward is a clash with unseeded Czech Linda Noskova, who progressed to the last eight when Ukraine's Elina Svitolina retired with a bad back while trailing 3-0 in the first set.

"I need to take a little bit of time to breathe because my heart I feel is going to jump out of my body," she said.

"I always felt like I was running behind the train, but I think because I am a little bit of a fighter that's why I won this match."

Yastremska's previous best at the Slams was a fourth round appearance at Wimbledon in 2019, but she has been in impressive touch at Melbourne Park.

Ranked 93, she has beaten a number of top 50 players, including Wimbledon champion and seventh seed Marketa Vondrousova in the first round. She landed the first blow in a rollercoaster opening set, going up 3-1, but 18th seed Azarenka responded to put it back on serve as Yastremska's error-count ballooned.

Her veteran opponent then broke again to move 4-3 ahead, but faltered badly serving for the set at 5-4, blown away to love. Another break gave Azarenka a 6-5 advantage, but she again lost her nerve, with Yastremska saving two set points before sending it to a tie-break, where she prevailed after 74 draining minutes. 

Azarenka flew 3-0 up in the second set, but her serve was again exposed and Yastremska came storming back, with a searing backhand down the line giving her a second break for 4-3 and she never relented. 

MELBOURNE, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Qualifier Dayana Yastremska continued her fairytale run into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Monday with a 7-6(6) 6-4 upset of twice former champion and 18th seed Victoria Azarenka.

The Ukrainian world number 93, who stunned Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova in the first round, had to fight hard but was rewarded for her aggression with 38 winners to forge on into a half of the draw devoid of top 10 seeds.