Mirra Andreeva’s magical run in Madrid came to an end on Monday as Aryna Sabalenka snapped the teenager’s 16-match winning streak to move into the quarter-finals.
Andreeva, who turned 16 on Saturday, owned a perfect 16-0 record in professional matches this season coming into her clash with Sabalenka – a stretch which included back-to-back W60 tournaments in Switzerland prior to her arrival in Madrid.
The Cannes resident had upset US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez, No.13 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia, and No.17 seed Magda Linette en route to the fourth round but knocking out the reigning Australian Open champion proved a step too far for the talented Andreeva.
After a close start to the match, Sabalenka pulled away and comfortably posted a 6-3, 6-1 victory in 73 minutes.
A champion in Madrid in 2021, Sabalenka next takes on surprise quarter-finalist Mayar Sherif, who knocked out a third consecutive seed to become the first Egyptian to make the last-eight stage at a WTA 1000 event.
“It was a great match, I’m really happy with the result,” said Sabalenka, who turns 25 on Friday.
“First few games I was just trying to adjust to her game and rhythm and after that I started to feel my game a little bit better and I started playing better. I’m super happy with this win, especially against a young player.
“I was focusing on myself more than on her. I was just fighting for every point, and that makes the difference.”
The pair traded breaks at the beginning of the contest before Sabalenka carved a 4-2 opening. The world No.2 broke Andreeva’s serve again in game nine to scoop the first set in 43 minutes, blasting 17 winners along the way against 12 unforced errors.
The second set was a more straightforward affair but despite the loss, Andreeva has no doubt left a lasting impression on the Madrid crowd – and the tennis world as a whole – as she made history in the Spanish capital, becoming the youngest player ever to make the fourth round of a WTA 1000 event.
“It’s been a positive week for me and I can take only positives from this week,” said Andreeva, who started April ranked outside the top 300 and is projected to crack the top 120 when the new rankings are released next week.
“Of course I’m a little bit upset because in the beginning it was close and I had a lot of game points and break points so if I could, let’s say, realise them then the score could be 6-2 in the first.
“But I didn’t, she played really well, she’s playing aggressive tennis. She certainly did a good job today, so congrats to her. I think it’s her birthday today, so it’s a good present for her.”
Andreeva, who competed in Madrid via a wildcard, will take a break from competing next week and will then consider playing the WTA 125 event in Florence before heading to Roland Garros.