Lyon | Yastremska and Garcia cause upsets in France

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Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska reached the semi-finals of the Open 6ème Sens – Métropole de Lyon, a week after fleeing the Russian bombing of her home city of Odessa, battling past Italian 5th seed Jasmine Paolini, 6-4 7-6 (3), while home favourite Caroline Garcia continued her run with a 4-6 6-3 7-5 upset win over Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck.

With everything I’ve been through, I have to push myself and fight to the end. That’s what I was thinking about in the moments it was pretty tight, or when I felt really tired or a bit stressed. Every match I play here is nothing to lose. I’m giving everything I have. Dayana Yastremska

“That’s another win for Ukraine,” Yastremska said. “I feel so much support from everybody.”

Compatriot and former World No 3, Elina Svitolina, however, was defeated in her quarter-final match at the Abierto GNP Seguros in Monterrey, Mexico, letting a 4-1 lead slip in the 3rd set as she lost 1-6 7-5 7-6(5) to Colombia’s Camila Osorio, also on Friday.

Wild-carded into the WTA 250 draw in Lyon, Yastremska delivered another gritty performance over an hour and 41 minutes to score her first win in 4 meetings against the Italian.

Lyon welcomed the 21-year old and her younger sister Ivanna, 15, after the pair were forced to flee the war in Ukraine less than a week ago.

“I feel so much support from everybody,” she said. “Maybe in a tough moment I can hear and especially feel how people are supporting me here, and that’s another win for Ukraine.”

Yastremska won only 62% of her first-serve points to the 5th seed’s 70%, but she did significantly better when it came to winning points off her second serves, taking 51% to Paolini’s 35%.

After leading the second set 4-2, the Ukrainian fell behind 5-4, then won the next 2 games before dominating the tiebreak.

“With everything I’ve been through, I have to push myself and fight to the end,” Yastremska said in her post-match interview. “That’s what I was thinking about in the moments it was pretty tight, or when I felt really tired or a bit stressed.

“Every match I play here is nothing to lose. I’m giving everything I have.

“When I arrived here, I was very tired, emotionally and mentally, so now with every win I get those emotions and that energy back.”

The former World No 21 struck 22 winners, which just outweighed her 21 unforced errors, and many of them came as she staved off potential turning points.

Yastremska was pegged back in both sets after going up a break and, after conceding 3 straight games from 4-2 in the second, stood 2 points from losing the set.

When she served for the match at 6-5, she was broken to love in a flurry of mistakes, but she shook off those setbacks, her cross-court forehand instrumental in sealing multiple breaks of the Paolini serve, and her backhand majestic as she dominated the second-set tiebreak.

“Today I was, all the time, losing my focus,” she said. “I was pretty angry because I was doing sometimes such easy mistakes.

“I was trying my best to show a good level but every time I would make mistakes, I don’t know why.”

 

Caroline Garcia pulled off an upset in her hometown of Lyon against No 7 seed Alison Van Uytvanck on Friday to advance to the semis

As she bids to reach her first final since Adelaide 2020, Yastremska will next face No 2 seed Sorana Cirstea from Romania, who stopped Hungarian Anna Bondar’s fine run, 6-3 6-3.

Cirstea won 54% of her first-serve points to Bondar’s 51% and 57% of her second-serve points to the latter’s 30%, while she also saved 3 of the 6 break points she faced and secured 6 service breaks for herself on the Hungarian’s serve across the 1 hour 24 minute encounter.

At the top of the Lyon Open draw, Garcia and Zhang Shuai will vie for the other place in the final.

The Frenchwoman came from a set down to upset 7th-seeded Van Uytvanck in 3 tight sets after 2 hours 33 minutes.

This is Garcia’s first semi-final since reaching the Lausanne Open semis in July 2021.

Meanwhile, the 8th-seeded Zhang advanced to the semis after her opponent, Vitalia Diatchenko from Russia, retired early in the first set with the score standing at 3-0 in favour of the Chinese.

 

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