Dayana Yastremska: Ukraine tennis player wants to win for her country

Dayana Yastremska hits a forehand
Dayana Yastremska also reached the quarter-finals in Dubai in February

Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska has reached the Lyon Open quarter-finals less than a week after escaping Russian bomb attacks on her home city of Odessa.

The 21-year-old beat Spanish qualifier Cristina Bucsa 6-2 6-3 and said the win is “for my country”.

On 25 February, Yastremska wrote on Instagram that she and her 15-year-old sister Ivanna had been forced to leave their parents behind in Ukraine.

Three days later, the pair competed in doubles in Lyon.

They were beaten in the opening round, but Yastremska’s impressive singles run continues with Italian fifth seed Jasmine Paolini awaiting in Friday’s quarter-final.

Earlier in the week, Yastremska described how she was “woken up by bombs” in Odessa before crossing the Danube by boat to reach Romania.

She wrote on Instagram: “After spending two nights in the underground parking [sheltering from bombs], my parents made a decision at any cost to send me and my little sister out of Ukraine!

“Mom, Dad, we love you very much, take care of yourself!”

Yastremska arrived on court to face Busca with a Ukraine flag around her shoulders and following her victory said she was finding the tournament “very emotional”.

“I’m still very nervous because I really want to win the matches for my country,” the world number 140 said.

“I’m very happy that I’m here, that I’m in a safe place with my sister, and I’m happy to do the thing that I love, playing tennis.

“Every point that I’m playing here, I’m enjoying a lot, and especially with the situation that we have now, I’m enjoying it like a thousand times more.

“This is another victory for me and another victory for my country.”

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