Tennis prodigy Mirra Andreeva stuns Aryna Sabalenka at French Open to become youngest semifinalist since 1997

 

Mirra Andreeva made history on Wednesday when she defeated top-ranked tennis pro Aryna Sabalenka in the quarterfinals at the French Open to become the youngest Grand Slam semifinalist in nearly 30 years.

Andreeva, a 17-year-old unseeded player from Russia, won the match 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4, and she did so by going off script. 

“I always play the way I want to play. We have a plan with my coach for the match, but after, I forget everything, and when I play a match, I don’t have any thoughts in my head,” she said after the match. 

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“So maybe I would say that my strength could be that I just play how I want to play and I do whatever I want to do.”

Her unapologetic approach to the game has paid off. Andreeva, who only turned 17 in April, is now the youngest player to reach the semifinals at any Grand Slam since Martina Hingis did so in 1997 at age 16. 

That year, Hingis won the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open and was a finalist at the French Open. 

NOVAK DJOKOVIC WITHDRAWS FROM FRENCH OPEN DUE TO INJURY

Andreeva is playing only in her sixth major tournament. She will next face Italy’s Jasmine Paolini, a 28-year-old who also reached her first major semifinal.

But at heart, Andreeva is much like any other teenager. 

“I would say that I am almost like a normal teenager, because I still have to do my school that I don’t like to do. I watch a lot of TV series in my spare time. I watch Netflix. I sometimes spend too much time on my Instagram,” she said. “But maybe what makes me a little different is that, I don’t know if I can say that I’m mature, but I feel myself a mature person, and I feel that I know what I’m doing.”

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Andreeva and Paolini will face off on Thursday morning. Earlier in the day, the women’s world No. 1 Iga Swiatek will face off against Coco Gauff. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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