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Andreeva continues fairytale run with thrust past Parry

  • Matt Trollope

Mirra Andreeva’s spectacular 6-0 6-2 domination of world No.6 Ons Jabeur was one of the biggest stories in the first week of Australian Open 2024.

MORE: All the scores from Day 6 at AO 2024

At just 16 years of age, and following a result that propelled her into the third round of a major tournament, a comedown would have been understandable following such a heady high.

MORE: AO 2024 women's singles draw

It seemed this was exactly the case against Diane Parry on Friday, when Andreeva lost the first set 6-1 and fell behind 5-1 in the third.

She also stared down a match point in the eighth game, before staging an outstanding comeback to stun the Frenchwoman 1-6 6-1 7-6[10-5].

“I don't think it's a big deal. I mean, fourth round, yes, I'm 16, maybe it's a bit new. Honestly, I don't think that I did something amazing. I'm just trying to win a match. I'm just trying to fight,” said Andreeva, who cracked the top 50 last week.

“Fourth round is nothing. Maybe if I win a Slam, I have to win three more matches, and it's really tough to win seven matches in a row.

“I don't think that I did something incredible. I have time to do it, I hope.” 

Andreeva dragged herself off the canvas to book a place in the fourth round

There was emotion in Andreeva’s comeback. After showing signs of frustration as she languished early in the third set, her spirited cries of “c’mon!”, and the increasing roar of the Court 3 crowd as she reeled Parry in, defined her comeback.  

Another memorable aspect was the canny, intentional nature of her tennis.  

Two days ago it was startling to watch how effectively she picked apart Jabeur, a player 13 years older and with the experience of three Grand Slam finals under her belt.  

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She was similarly savvy against Parry, patiently working points and always appearing to select the right shot for the moment.

While aggressive, Andreeva wasn’t reckless, and only went for her shots when she was in the position to make them. She defended brilliantly; even when stretched she managed to put the ball in uncomfortable places for Parry, and frequently got the point back on her terms.

She gathered momentum quickly, and Parry seemed powerless to stop the scoreboard clicking over against her. 

"Every single shot she plays has a purpose. It feels like it's part of a master plan,” commentator Catherine Whitaker said on The Tennis Podcast, referring to observations made by co-host David Law.

“All of the usual chess analogies that you can imagine, they're all there. She doesn't do rally balls, and it's brilliant.” 

Former top 40 player Nicole Pratt expressed a similar sentiment after watching Andreeva at Roland Garros, where she advanced to the third round.

“Andreeva, she's really good. Crazy. She's a baby,” Pratt told at the time. “Her tennis IQ is very, very, very good."

This on-court intelligence recalls another teen phenom in Martina Hingis, who at the same age won this very tournament in 1997.

It is far too early to suggest Andreeva could match Hingis’ achievement at AO 2024. But unusual things are happening at Melbourne Park this fortnight, with the draw opening up in the wake of five of the top eight seeds departing.  

While undoubtedly impressive, this is not Andreeva’s first appearance in the second week of a Slam. She reached the same stage at Wimbledon last year, coming extremely close to the quarterfinals before Madison Keys stormed home in three.

Six months on, Andreeva continues to improve, and acknowledged the Hingis comparison – a player she emulates by reaching the second week at both the AO and Wimbledon before turning 17. 

“I actually watched a lot of her matches. I really like the way she plays,” said Andreeva, who faces Barbora Krejcikova or Storm Hunter for a place in the quarterfinals.

“I feel like she's a bit more aggressive … I feel like when she played, she always wanted to go in front. She always wanted to go to the net to finish the point.  

“Me, I mean, I can finish the point on the baseline, I feel okay.”

We’ve seen plenty of exquisite points from the baseline this week from Andreeva.

If she maintains this form and momentum, we could see many more before AO 2024 is done.