Schoolgirl Andreeva living the dream after thrashing Jabeur at Australian Open

Ranked 47, it was her first win over a top-10 player, having burst onto the scene when she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon last year as a qualifier.
Mirra Andreeva
Mirra Andreeva(Photo | X @AustralianOpen)

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Russian 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva put her school work to one side Wednesday and instead underlined her huge potential by crushing sixth seed Ons Jabeur in under an hour at the Australian Open.

Playing her first main draw at Melbourne Park, Andreeva was electric in downing the three-time Grand Slam runner-up 6-0, 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena in just 54 minutes.

Ranked 47, it was her first win over a top-10 player, having burst onto the scene when she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon last year as a qualifier.

"I was really nervous before the match, but I saw that she was nervous too. It kind of helped me, because I know I'm not the only one who is nervous before the match," said Andreeva.

"I decided to just enjoy, because it's Rod Laver Arena, I'm playing against the person that I like. I decided just to play, and I think I played OK."

It was her second appearance on Melbourne's centre court after last year losing the girls final to fellow Russian Alina Korneeva.

She admitted it left her "super upset" and drove her forward against Jabeur.

"Today when I saw that I play on Rod Laver, I said that this time I have to take my chance and I have to win on the big court for the first time, and so I did," she said.

Andreeva made her Grand Slam bow at the French Open last year with a run to the third round after coming through qualifying, ahead of her exploits at Wimbledon.

In her only other Grand Slam, she lost in the second round of the US Open to eventual champion Coco Gauff.

She is pursuing her dream of a tennis career while still juggling school.

"I still have to do a lot of school. It actually started two days ago, so I have to do it," she said, adding "I don't like chemistry".

'Higher and higher'

At such a young age, Andreeva is restricted by the WTA Tour in the number of tournaments she can play and she said it was too early to be thinking about what how far she can climb up the rankings.

"I mean, I'm 16. Why do I have to think about the rankings? I'm going a bit higher, and so my goal is to go higher and higher, maybe for a little bit but still higher," she said.

"So I don't know. I just try not to think about that and just to think about tennis and that's it."

The first set against the Tunisian was a 20-minute demolition job, with 29-year-old Jabeur completely out of touch.

She won only eight points across the six games, and just three from the baseline, while making 10 unforced errors.

Her serve was not firing, with only 38 percent of first serve points won and just 13 percent on second serve.

Jabeur, who has made the final twice at Wimbledon and once at the US Open, finally held serve to get off the mark in the opening game of set two, raising her finger in celebration.

But the teenage Russian kept coming and broke again for a 2-1 lead, then made it 4-1 as Jabeur's shoulders slumped, knowing it was all over.

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The New Indian Express