Ukraine teen conquers nerves to reach Hong Kong semis

Russia’s Anastasia Potapova (L) poses with Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska (R) at the end of the girls singles final of the 2016 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 9, 2016. (AFP pic)

HONG KONG: Ukrainian teenager Dayana Yastremska conquered her nerves as she fought back from an early setback to win only her second WTA quarter-final at the Hong Kong Open on Friday.

The 18-year-old quickly went down 4-0 to outsider Kristina Kucova — the world number 317 who knocked out Jelena Ostapenko in the first round — before recovering to win 7-6 (8/6), 6-2.

“Even though I was losing 4-0 I had a fighting spirit and I knew that I would find my game if I stayed patient,” Yastremska said.

“The crowds were supporting me so I felt that energy and I was very motivated to come back.”

She added, “I was very nervous and I made a lot of mistakes, but I realised that I’m nervous and I just had to get through it.”

Earlier this year, the big-serving teenager became the first player born this millennium to break into the WTA top 100 rankings.

The 2016 Wimbledon girls singles finalist is currently ranked 102 and faces a semi-final against China’s number two Zhang Shuai or last year’s runner-up Daria Gavrilova.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza was on court against Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum, while China’s Wang Qiang takes on world number five Elina Svitolina in the late match.