Misc Tennis

French Open: Mirra Andreeva gears up for the biggest match of her career

French Open: Mirra Andreeva gears up for the biggest match of her career

For a brief moment in the early hours on Friday morning, Mirra Andreeva looked her age.

The 17-year-old Russian had just defeated two-time major champion and former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, in the second round of the French Open — after waiting through rain delays for hours. Andreeva jumped up in the air and waved her arms as an ecstatic smile spread across her face.

She quickly regained her composure, as the smattering of fans who remained in the stands at Court 12 cheered her on, but it was clear just how much the win had meant to her.

Throughout Andreeva’s run in Paris, she has played with a poise and ability typically reserved for someone much more advanced in her career. She beat rising American star Peyton Stearns in the third round and defeated Varvara Gracheva — a French player and crowd favorite — on Monday to advance to the first major quarterfinals of her career.

Already the most-hyped teen phenom since Coco Gauff, Andreeva became the second-youngest woman in history to reach the final eight at the French Open, and the youngest since 2005. It was the latest “youngest” accolade in what’s becoming a career of them.

On Wednesday, Andreeva will face world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka with a spot in the semifinals on the line. They have played twice before, including in the Madrid quarterfinals earlier in May, with Andreeva losing both in straight sets. But if she was nervous about the clash, which is undoubtedly the biggest match of her career, she didn’t show it Monday. Instead she was relaxed and pragmatic as she answered questions about Sabalenka.

“I will not say my tactics right now,” Andreeva said laughing. “She probably [won’t] watch it or her coaches will not watch my press conference, but just in case. Of course we will add a few adjustments. We will change something, because the way I played last two times didn’t work. … She’s a player of another level, so I have to be prepared from the beginning. I hope my coach will help me with that, and, well, we’ll see how it goes.”

Since bursting onto the scene in April 2023 with her fourth-round run in Madrid during her WTA main draw debut, Andreeva has proved she’s capable of big wins and upsets over star players.

In January of this year, playing in her first main draw at the Australian Open and a year removed from losing in the junior final, Andreeva defeated three-time major finalist Ons Jabeur in the second round in a head-turning rout, 6-0, 6-2. In April, she…

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