In just her sixth tour-level appearance, Australia’s Astra Sharma has pulled off her third straight tour-level win to advance to the quarterfinals in Bogota. The world no. 138 defeated world no. 85 and no 8 seed Magda Linette from Poland 6-4, 6-3.
The Australian has previously just won a single match on the WTA tour or in Grand Slams, that came at the 2019 Australian Open when she defeated fellow Australian Priscilla Hon in round one after earning a main draw spot through qualifying.
Sharma is perhaps the accidental tennis pro after having gone to Vanderbilt University to study for a medical degree, but she chose Vanderbilt for a reason. She chose Vanderbilt for the ability to “go to an amazing school, and play top-level tennis”.
The Australian took that all the way to a national title with Vanderbilt in 2015 as well as being named 2017 All-American in singles and doubles.
In Bogota, Sharma took the first game of the match by breaking her opponent, then served and held comfortably to consolidate the break. Sharma would not face a break point in the match.
The Australian held serves to take the first set 6-4.
In the second set, it was again Sharma that got an early break, this time in the third game to lead 2-1. Sharma again had break points in the seventh game but the Polish player fought her way out of that game.
Sharma held serve, despite being taken to deuce but then broke Linette in the next game to seal the match when Linette hit long at 30-40.
Sharma pumped her fist and let out a yell as she moved into her first WTA quarterfinal.
The Australian hit 18 winners to 14, but it was the unforced errors that made a difference. Sharma had 17 to Linette’s 22.
The live ranking for Sharma now jumps to a career-high no. 120. Sharma started 2019 at no. 230 and would move well into the top-100 if she can go all the way to the title in Bogota, a finals appearance will see her right around the top-100. But there are plenty of tough matches ahead.
Next up for Sharma is the winner of the match between Italy’s lucky-loser Sara Errani and qualifier Bibiane Schoofs from the Netherlands.
The top-ranked player still in the drawer is Tamara Zidansek, the world no. 67. Zidansek defeated Sharma in the opening round at the 2017 Canberra International. They could meet again in the semis.