18-year-old Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska ran hot late in 2018 winning the Hong Kong International title and then reaching the semifinals at the Luxembourg tournament.
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Photo: Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska hitting a forehand (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)
The world no. 47 has built on that to reach the third round of the Australian Open and now the semifinals of the Toyota Thailand Open after defeating the no. 1 seed Garbiñe Muguruza.
World no. 15 had the first break point of the match in the opening game after Yastremska served a double fault at 30-30. The Ukrainian saved the first break point with a shot that just caught the back of the line.
Another break point came up after Yastremska hit just long on the next point. Muguruza netted in the next rally for deuce then Yastremska returned the favour to see a third break point which was saved by an Ace out wide. Muguruza again hit into the net to give a game point, but the 18-year-old hit an unforced error for deuce.
Unforced errors were running hot in the opening game, this time it was the Spaniard that missed wide, then the Ukrainian missed wide for deuce no. 5. Yastremska stretched Muguruza well wide but then she blasted the next shot well over the baseline for breakpoint no. 4. A big forehand winner saved that.
Another error and it was break point no. 5. Another forehand winner from the Ukrainian again saves a breakpoint and it was deuce no. 7 in a marathon opening game. A backhand into the net from Yastremska gave her opponent a sixth break point. A bad double fault and finally it was game over with Muguruza getting the first break of the match.
Muguruza consolidated the break despite having a bit of a struggle to hold serve and take a 2-0 lead.
Games went with serve and at 2-3 down Yastremska called for her coach Olivier Jeunehomme. Is the coach a genius? He seemed to say something that worked as Yastremska broke to love in the next game for 3-3. The effect eas shortlived as Muguruza broke for 4-3 only to again be broken to love.
Yastremska ended the run of breaks when she held serve for a 5-4 lead. Games would go with serve to 6-6 for the tiebreaker although the Ukrainian did hold two set points in the twelfth game, but four unforced errors in a row saw the Spaniard take the game.
In the tiebreaker, Yastremska won the first point after a good serve was sent wide by Muguruza. A backhand winner on the next point from the 18-year-old saw her snatch a mini-break. A winner from Yastremska, then back-to-back unforced errors from Muguruza saw the lead jump out to 5-1.
A Yastremska forehand winner off of Muguraza’s serve game the Ukrainian five set points. Muguruza saved four before her opponent finally closed out the set when Muguruza hit into the net as she slipped. The Spaniard took out her frustration on her Babolat Pure Drive racquet as she smashed it into the court.
After the first set the winners count was 20-4 in favour of Yastremska, unforced errors 23 for Yastremska and 17 from Muguruza.
The Ukrainian broke in the very first game and Muguruza was only able to win one game in the second set as the 18-year-old took the match 7-6(5), 6-1.
“I think I forgot about the match last year. I watched the highlights so I could see the tactics,” Yastremska said. “I had the confidence, but it was another day, another match, like I was playing against her for the first time.
“It’s always great to win against the top players. I’m excited to be here, to be in the semifinals. Being here for the first time, so I really appreciate the opportunity.”
In other matches, Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic easily advanced past China’s Zheng Saisai 6-1, 6-3. Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek defeated Swiss player Viktoria Golubic 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 and Poland’s Magda Linette defeated China’s Wang Yafan 6-2, 6-3.
In the semis it will be Tomljanovic against Zidansek and Yastremska against Linette.