Melbourne: Qualifier Dayana Yastremska marched into the first Grand Slam quarterfinal of her career with a 7-6(6), 6-4 upset of two-time champion Victoria Azarenka in the fourth round of the Australian Open on Monday.
The 23-year-old Yastremska defeated former World No. 1 Azarenka in two hours and seven minutes on Rod Laver Arena by fending off two set chances in the opening set and rallying from a breakdown in the second. Azarenka's return depth enabled her to rally from a 3-1 deficit to serve for the set at 5-4 in the first set. Yastremska's blazing forehands, however, served her well throughout the set, and she broke at love for 5-5 with that wing.
In the quarterfinal clash, Yastremska will next take on fellow first-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic, in their first meeting.
"I played pretty aggressive, I think. In some moments I felt like I was too nervous and too emotional, but then I just relaxed and I said, like, 'It's going to be like it's going to be. Just try to play each ball,'" Yastremska said as quoted by WTA.
At 6-5, Azarenka then had two set points against Yastremska's serve. But each time the two-time winner misplayed a backhand, Yastremska edged ahead in the tiebreak. Yastremska secured a set point at 7-6 in the breaker by slamming a forehand winner on the edge of the sideline. After a demanding one hour and fourteen minutes, the qualifier managed to take the set on the backhand with yet another winner.
In the second set, Azarenka took a 3-0 lead, but Yastremska rallied once more, winning five straight games to put herself in the driver's seat. Yastremska, of course, made her first match point at 5-4 with one last unreturnable forehand. Elsewhere, Noskova advanced into her maiden Grand Slam quarter of her career when an injured No.19 seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine retired from their Round of 16 match after only three games. Earlier, the 19-year-old Noskova stunned World No.1 Iga Swiatek in the previous round. (ANI)