Lyon | Emotional Yastremska wins again, as Garcia advances at home


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Dayana Yastremska continued to fly the Ukrainian flag at the Open 6e Sens Métropole de Lyon in France with a win over Spanish qualifier Cristina Bucsa on Thursday, while Caroline Garcia, Shuai Zhang, Jasmine Paolini and Vitalia Diatchenko also reached the quarter-finals.

This is another victory for me, and another victory for my country. We’ll see what happens on Friday [in the quarter-finals], if I can raise my physical level. Dayana Yastremska

Wild-carded Yastremska scored a 6-2 6-3 win over Bucsa, needing 65 minutes to advance but, after having collapsed in a heap on court after her first round triumph over Romanian Ana Bogdan at the WTA 250 event on Tuesday, she dealt with the situation better following her win on Thursday.

“I want to win for my country,” an emotional Yastremska said on court afterwards. “Yesterday I tried to recover myself as fast as possible to prepare for my match today, and I’m still very nervous because I really want to win the matches for my country.

“This tournament is very emotional for me, but I’m very happy with the win today.

“To be honest, I’m very happy that I’m here, that I’m in a safe place with my sister, and I’m happy to do the thing that I love, playing tennis.

“Every point that I’m playing here, I’m enjoying a lot, and especially with the situation that we have now, I’m enjoying it like a thousand times more.

“I’m going to try my best to win my next match,” she added.

Arriving on court with an Ukraine flag draped around her shoulders, the 21-year old secured 5 breaks on Bucsa’s serve, while conceding her own serve twice in the match.

She took charge returning the Bucsa second serve, winning 68 percent of those points, and also fired 3 aces in the process, including one to earn her first match point, which she converted with a powerful forehand.

The World No 140 fled her homeland less than a week ago when Russia invaded from Crimea, escaping the Russian bomb attacks on her home city of Odessa.

At her post-match news conference she said: “This is another victory for me, and another victory for my country.

We’ll see what happens on Friday [in the quarter-finals], if I can raise my physical level.”

In her opening match on Tuesday, she had to save 2 match points in a marathon win against Bogdan.

Afterwards, she spoke of how she was ‘woken up by bombs’ when Russia invaded Ukraine last week, before embarking on an arduous journey to France.

Her father and mother remained in the Black Sea port city of Odessa after saying goodbye to their daughters when they crossed the Danube by boat to reach Romania.

Yastremska, who has won 3 WTA titles but none since May 2019, also played doubles in Lyon with her 15-year-old sister Ivanna on Monday.

“On Wednesday, we were at home in Odessa. We were spending time with our family before making this long trip to Lyon with my father,” she explained. “The evening was pleasant, but the next morning we were woken up by bombs.

“We didn’t realise or understand what was going on. It was crazy. It wasn’t a film or a video game — we were very shocked.

“We left the apartment to take shelter in the underground car park while the bombs continued to explode.

“The journey took four hours to reach the Danube on the Romanian border. We were afraid of bombs or Russian tanks.”

Caroline Garcia made it to the quarter-finals of her hometown tournament in Lyon with a win over Martina Trevisan

© Mohamed Farag/Getty Images

In the quarters, Yastremska, a former top-25 player who is now ranked 140, will play Jasmine Paolini, the 5th seed ranked 48, after the Italian claimed a 6-1 6-2 win over German qualifier Tamara Korpatsch in 59 minutes.

Paolini’s compatriot, Martina Trevisan, however, lost her second-round match to home favourite Garcia, the only Frenchwoman left in the draw, who clinched her hard-fought win, 6-4 2-6 6-3, in 2 hours and 6 minutes.

Garcia has reached her 2nd quarter-final of 2022 at her home tournament and, for a place in the semi-finals, she will play 7th seed Alison Van Uytvanck from Belgium, who got past Russia’s Varvara Gracheva, 6-2 6-4.

China’s Zhang Shuai, the 8th seed, also made it through to the quarters after defeating Arantxa Rus from the Netherlands, 6-4 6-4, in an hour 33 minutes.

Next up for Zhang is Vitalia Diatchenko, another Russian, who posted the sole upset of the day, ousting 3rd seed and defending finalist of the Lyon Open, Viktorija Golubic from Switzerland, 7-6(4) 4-6 6-4, taking 2 hours 52 minutes to advance.

The last quarter-final is between Anna Bondar from Hungary and 2nd-seeded Sorana Cirstea from Romania, who both advanced on Wednesday.

Dayana Yastremska draped herself in the Ukrainian flag arriving on court for her match and in her on court interview

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