Four days ago, Dayana Yastremska fled her war-torn country of Ukraine as a refugee, making her way by boat to Romania and then to Lyon, where she had a wildcard for the Open 6ème Sens - Métropole de Lyon. Tuesday saw her pull off a 3-6, 7-6(7), 7-6(7) first-round defeat of Ana Bogdan over 3 hours and 5 minutes, saving two match points in the process.
"I'm happy that I won for my country, but at the same time I'm very sad," said Yastremska, 21, on court afterwards, holding the Ukrainian flag around her shoulders. "My heart stays at home, and my mind is fighting here, so it's very difficult to find the concentration, to find the balance.
"This win, compared to what's going on in my country, is nothing. But I'm happy, at least, I'm also fighting for my country. I'm really proud of the Ukrainians and they're really heroes. I hope everything is going to finish soon."
Yastremska, who had spent two nights sheltering from missile strikes in an underground carpark before leaving Ukraine, was watched by younger sister Ivanna, 15, after both were forced to leave their parents behind in their hometown of Odesa. The World No.140 showed immense heart and will to haul herself back into the match and come through a nail-biting climax. She trailed by an early break in both the second and third sets, but found her best and most accurate shots to pull herself back from the brink of defeat.
Serving down 5-6 in the second set, Yastremska found a forehand winner down match point, and then sealed her third set point in the ensuing tiebreak with a fizzing forehand return. In the third-set tiebreak, the former World No.21 fired a breathtaking backhand down the line to bring up triple match point, but dropped four straight points after some over-eager hitting and a double fault.
But despite all the circumstances, Yastremska was still able to summon up spectacular tennis. A forehand winner saved a second match point against her, and an unreturnable serve down the tee converted her fourth.