PALERMO, Italy - No.7 seed Dayana Yastremska completed the last eight line-up at the 31st Palermo Ladies Open in emphatic style on Thursday night, dismissing lucky loser Oceane Dodin, 6-2, 6-4.
"I'm very happy to be in a quarterfinal after so long of playing no tournaments," Yastremska said after the match. "It was a good match, starting pretty late. All day, I had to be very focused to stay in a good way with the mind."
Yastremska began the year with a first Premier final appearance and looks to have maintained that momentum through quarantine after an 77 minute win on Center Court.
The Ukrainian youngster last played at the Qatar Total Open, where she upset reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in straight sets, and was similarly impressive to start her week in Palermo against Sara Sorribes Tormo.
"What I wanted most on court was to play so that I could finish early! I was really tired, but I tried to stay as aggressive and intense as possible so I could finish that much earlier."
In between, she sought to raise awareness about lowering coronavirus infection rates at home and abroad with the help of a public service announcement, one that encouraged best practices for staying healthy during the pandemic.
Dodin, who enjoyed back-to-back quarterfinal runs at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy and the Open 6ème Sens – Métropole de Lyon before the WTA tour was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, shook off a final round qualifying loss to Nadia Podoroska to defeat rising Slovenian star Tamara Zidensek in the main draw.
Yastremska nonetheless began the match in scintillating form, striking a whopping 16 winners to just four unforced errors to sweep the opening set, landing five aces and converting three of four break point opportunities.
"I was trying to do some different things today, some slices, drop shots, but flat hitting was working best today. My style of game may be better for hard and grass courts, but I like playing on clay, well. You can do more things on this surface than on quicker courts anyway."
The second set saw Dodin on more level terms with her higher-ranked opposition, clawing back from an early break to remain on serve until the crucial 10th game. Though she saved the first match point, she wouldn't save the second, and Yastremska secured victory with a thunderous backhand return.
In all, she struck a whopping 39 winners to just seven unforced errors, and was equally efficient on serve with 11 total aces to just two double faults.
Standing between Yastremska and a spot in the semifinals is Italian favorite Camila Giorgi, who rallied from a set down to defeat Kaja Juvan earlier in the evening. The two last played at Wimbledon in 2019, where the Ukrainian won in straight sets.
"With my style, I think it's cool to play against someone who is also hitting flat. The keys to win are just that: keys. I can't share those here, but the simple answer is that I'll stay with my style of game, regardless of how my opponent is playing. I can make adjustments, and maybe add some variety, but the main style won't change."