Fearless Ukrainian tennis player Dayana Yastremska said she hoped her war-torn country took pride in her reaching her first Grand Slam quarter-final on Monday, though admitting it was emotionally challenging.
The athletic 23-year-old, known for her strong serve and aggressive groundstrokes, fought past two-time champion Victoria Azarenka 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena to secure her spot in the Australian Open’s last eight.
Yastremska’s next rival is unseeded Czech Linda Noskova, who advanced when Ukrainian Elina Svitolina retired due to a bad back, trailing 3-0 in the first set.
“I think they’re going to be really proud of me and I’m happy to make them proud,” Yastremska said of her fellow Ukrainians. Although she won three WTA Tour titles as a teenager, Yastremska struggled in recent years, admitting the conflict affected her performance.
“The war, of course, has affected us a lot because you can’t go home whenever you want like before. You’re always checking the news and watching videos,” she said.
Yastremska’s previous best at the Slams was a fourth-round appearance at Wimbledon in 2019, but she demonstrated outstanding form at Melbourne Park. Ranked 93, she defeated several top 50 players, including Wimbledon champion and seventh seed Marketa Vondrousova in the first round.
In her fourth-round match on Monday, Yastremska overcame a rollercoaster opening set, winning a tie-break after 74 draining minutes. Azarenka led 3-0 in the second set but faltered, allowing Yastremska to come storming back. Yastremska’s searing backhand down the line earned her a second break for a 4-3 lead, and she never looked back.
1. Celebrate the achievements of athletes: Dayana Yastremska’s journey to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open is a remarkable achievement for her and her war-torn country. It’s important to recognize and support athletes from all backgrounds, especially those who have overcome significant challenges.
2. Emphasize the power of determination: Yastremska’s strong serve and aggressive groundstrokes propelled her to victory. This reminds us that persistence and a positive mindset can make a difference in achieving our goals.
3. Stay mentally strong despite external circumstances: Yastremska admitted that the conflict in her country affected her game. The ability to stay focused and perform under emotional pressure is a valuable lesson that can be applied to various situations in life.
4. Highlight the impact of current events on travel: Yastremska mentioned how the conflict prevented her from going back home whenever she wanted. It serves as a reminder that sometimes unforeseen circumstances can disrupt travel plans and we need to be prepared for such situations.
5. Seek inspiration in the face of adversity: Yastremska’s determination to succeed despite the emotional challenges she faced can inspire us to overcome our own obstacles. Whether it is in travel or other aspects of life, pushing through adversity can lead to personal growth and success.
6. Follow the news and be aware of the situation in your destination: Yastremska mentioned that she always reads the news and sees videos about the conflict. This highlights the importance of staying informed about the current state of affairs in your travel destination. It’s crucial to be aware of any potential risks or changes that may affect your trip.