Dayana Yastremska is two wins away from emulating Britain’s Emma Raducanu after beating Linda Noskova to reach the Australian Open semi-finals.
Raducanu is the only qualifier ever to win a Grand Slam title but Yastremska increased her tally of wins in Melbourne to eight with a 6-3 6-4 victory on Rod Laver Arena.
The stories are not exactly comparable, given Yastremska was ranked 21 in the world as a 19-year-old before serving a six-month provisional suspension for a failed doping test, for which she was later deemed to bear no fault.
But it is nevertheless a very impressive run from the Ukrainian, now 23, who is set to soar back into the top 30 from her current ranking of 93.
She is the second qualifier in the Open era to reach the last four at the Australian Open in the women’s singles after Christine Dorey in 1978.
“I think it’s nice to make history because at that time I still wasn’t born. I’m super happy, and tired,” said Yastremska.
“I arrived here on January 3. On the days when I have a match, they do go very fast. When I have a day off, it feels like I’ve been here for six months already.”
This was a contest of first-strike tennis, with both women looking to seize the initiative in rallies as early as possible.
But it was the extra power of Yastremska that made the difference, with the Ukrainian hitting 19 winners compared to only six for 19-year-old Noskova.
“I don’t really feel like I’m playing really good,” said Yastremska, who beat Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova and two-time winner Victoria Azarenka earlier in the tournament.
“I just try to play like I can and take the maximum from myself. Everything I have left is just fighting.”
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