APRIL 21 - MAY 4, 2025

Andreeva, a new star in Madrid

It was with rosy cheeks and a nervous smile that Mirra Andreeva spoke to the press after equalling her best performance in the WTA event (quarter-finals) by defeating Jasmine Paolini 7-6, 6-4.

Nine years separate the birthday girl (17) from her Italian opponent (28), but once they started knocking up, all the innocence of the young Mirra vanished in a thick enough haze of grit and determination to unsettle the most experienced of campaigners.

At this season’s Mutua Madrid Open, these are qualities that have already ended the competition for Marketa Vondrousova, Linda Noskova and Taylor Townsend, who she saw off in earlier rounds.

The latest unpolished diamond of women’s tennis is racing her way up the ranking with barely a hair out of place. She reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and it turns out she is no pushover on clay.

Perhaps lacking some of the power and aggression of her more-developed professional peers, Andreeva squeezes everything out of the weapons she has in her arsenal at this point in her fledgling career. Intelligence, reading the game, self-control, to name but a few. These skills allow her to square off against the best long before, on paper at least, she should be able to.

This is the most frightening thing about this young gem. Once she finds her inevitable place among the elite, the sky will be her limit. Poor shot choice and as many unforced errors as winners are commonplace among recent arrivals on tour. The norm is that time takes care of tidying up these loose ends, but with Mirra, although she does have the odd hiccup in each set, they are already few and far between.

It seems the world No. 43 is aware she is already ahead of the curve. “Without wanting to sound arrogant, I think I’m quite solid on the baseline. I’ve always known how to play, I’ve never had problems on court from not knowing how to play or where to play, and I also watch a lot of tennis to analyse it”.

In addition, although it is too soon to draw any conclusions, Andreeva seems to have the heart of a champion, having already produced a couple comebacks at this event. In her third-round match she bounced back from 1-4 down against Vondrousova in the first set to win it 7-5. It was a similar story in her opening set today, when she came back from 2-5 down to win a tiebreak.

The young star also touched upon her ability to thrive under pressure when she spoke to the media in the mixed zone. “The matches in this tournament are like that, I either come back from 1-4 or 2-5, or yesterday my opponent did likewise from 1-4. I tried to take it a point at a time and it worked”.