A Rising Star Takes the Thailand Open at True Arena

A Rising Star Takes the Thailand Open at True Arena
A Rising Star Takes the Thailand Open at True Arena

Dayana Yastremska has given the Kingdom a peek at the future of women’s tennis. Over several days, young Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska astonished fans at the WTA Thailand Open with explosive groundstrokes that sent opponent after opponent packing from the True Arena.

Unlike many other big-hitters on the tour, this 18-year-old from Odessa can whip winners from both wings at will, with solid technique and great timing that makes her a coming force in women’s tennis. The talented teenager had only been a pro for two years when she won her maiden title in Hong Kong last October, but before that she sent a signal by becoming the first woman born in the 2000s to crack the top world 100, reaching the milestone last July following impressive results on the ITF circuit.

Though she grew up idolising Roger Federer, Yastremska was eager to learn from multi-Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, the queen of the power-game, when they met in the Australian Open third round last month. “I wouldn’t say Serena Williams is my idol but she is a legend. I played her [and lost in the Australian Open] and I still have a lot of things to learn,” said the young star, who trains in Ukraine and Belgium, with former world No 1 Justine Henin as her adviser. “However, you were born original so you have to be original. So I’m trying to be myself instead of trying to be like my idol,” added Yastremska, who dazzled the Hua Hin crowd with bullet shots that sent twotime Grand Slam winner Garbine Muguruza of Spain out of the tournament.

And that was no fluke; she previously outgunned the former world No 1 in Luxembourg last year. “Ever since I was young, I have hit the ball hard because I’m strong,” she laughed. “That’s my style and that’s something I’m improving in myself. I can play with variety as well but I feel good with the aggressive game,” added the world No 47, the youngest in the top 50 at 18 years and seven months.