17-year-old Andreeva reaches her first French Open quarters by beating last Frenchwoman

When Andreeva, who turned 17 a month ago, hit the winning forehand, she threw her racket over he head and let her emotions go.
Russia's  Mirra Andreeva celebrates winning her fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament on Monday, June 3, 2024.
Russia's Mirra Andreeva celebrates winning her fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament on Monday, June 3, 2024.(Photo | AP)

PARIS: Varvara Gracheva was the last French woman or man standing in the French Open singles.

So Mirra Andreeva knew on Monday she wasn’t going to get any support in the second biggest arena at Roland Garros, Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Sure enough, she heard the occasional boos from a crowd hostile to her but cheering for Gracheva as much as they could.

“It put the fire inside of me,” Andreeva said, smiling.

She won the fourth-round encounter 7-5, 6-2 and reached her first quarterfinal at a Grand Slam tournament, where she began her Grand Slam journey only a year ago.

When Andreeva, who turned 17 a month ago, hit the winning forehand, she threw her racket over he head and let her emotions go.

“My coaches, before the match, they talk about the plan, about the tactics,” Andreeva said. “I listen, but honestly, once I step onto the court, I don’t remember anything. That’s how I always play.”

Andreeva already knew Gracheva well from having trained together at the Elite Tennis Center in Cannes in the south of France.

Gracheva, six years older and also born in Russia, decided to represent France in 2018 and played her first tournament as a French player in 2023.

“I’m happy for her,” Gracheva said Andreeva. “She served well, she played a very serious match.”

Andreeva became the third woman in the last 18 years to reach the quarterfinals at Roland Garros before turning 18, following Amanda Anisimova in 2019 and Coco Gauff in 2021.

Naturally, the challenge ahead is harder.

In the quarterfinals, Andreeva faces world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka, who has yet to drop a set. The two-time Australian Open champion powered past No. 22-seeded American Emma Navarro 6-2, 6-3.

Also, No. 12 Jasmine Paolini of Italy rallied past Elina Avanesyan 4-6, 6-0, 6-1, and 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina defeating 15th-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-3. The No. 4-seeded Rybakina and Paolini meet next.

The women’s quarterfinals are set, with U.S. Open champion Gauff facing Ons Jabeur, and two-time defending champion Iga Swiatek taking on Wimbledon champ Marketa Vondrousova.

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