MELBOURNE: Dayana Yastremska beat Czech Linda Noskova 6-3, 6-4 today to book a semifinal spot at the Australian Open, becoming the first qualifier to reach the last four since 1978.
Battling in 30°C heat, the Ukrainian’s powerful forehand eventually overcame the 19-year-old Czech, who was the youngest player left in the women’s draw.
They traded breaks early in the first set, but it was Yastremska who took the lead in the eighth game when Noskova netted a backhand.
Despite failing to get nearly half her first serves in, the Ukrainian kept the pressure on with a string of forehand winners throughout the match.
Noskova failed to capitalise on a break point when she was down 5-3 and Yastremska wrapped up the first set in 36 minutes with another well-targeted forehand.
Both players went off court after the first set, escaping the heat, and Noskova had a long chat with her coach on her return.
The players were level-pegging throughout the second set until the seventh game when Yastremska locked it up on her third break point with a backhand winner that left Noskova stranded on the far side of the court.
She closed out the match on serve when Noskova’s backhand return hit the net, ending the Czech’s bid for her first tour singles title.
World No 93 Yastremska, who has already beaten two Grand Slam champions during the tournament, next faces either 12th seed Zheng Qinwen of China or Russian world No 75 Anna Kalinskaya, who play their quarterfinal later today.