MADRID -- Mirra Andreeva is having a Hologic WTA Tour debut for the record books. Playing her first tournament on the main tour, the 16-year-old wildcard is into the second week at the Mutua Madrid Open.
Less than 24 hours after earning her first main-draw win on tour by defeating 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez 6-3, 6-4, Andreeva ousted No.13 Beatriz Haddad Maia 7-6(6), 6-3 to advance to the third round. Then she celebrated her 16th birthday with another straight-set victory, this time over recent Australian Open semifinalist Magda Linette, 6-3, 6-3.
With her win over Fernandez, Andreeva became the third youngest player to win a main-draw match at a WTA 1000 tournament, behind Coco Gauff and CiCi Bellis, and only the second 15-year-old to defeat a Top 50 opponent at a WTA 1000 tournament.
Her win over Haddad Maia made Andreeva the seventh youngest player since 2000 to defeat a Top 20 opponent before the age of 16.
Want another stat? As she prepares to face No.2 Aryna Sabalenka, Andreeva is now the youngest player to reach a WTA 1000 Round of 16. She is only the fourth player under 17 to do so since the format began in 2009, after Amanda Anisimova, Gauff and Linda Fruhvirtova.
7 - Mirra Andreeva has now become the seventh player under 16 years of age to defeat an opponent ranked in the WTA's top 20 in the 21st century, and the last since Cori Gauff defeated Naomi Osaka (Australian Open R32 2020). Statement.#MMOPEN | @MutuaMadridOpen @WTA @WTA_insider pic.twitter.com/xoBhf1NbdI— OptaAce (@OptaAce) April 27, 2023
Andreeva has had an outstanding 2023 campaign on the junior and ITF levels. She made three consecutive junior finals to start the year, including the Australian Open girls' final, where she lost a heartbreaking finale against Alina Korneeva, 6-7(2), 6-4, 7-5.
"I needed to have a lot of time to recover from that match because it was a really tough match for me," Andreeva said. "And I had a lot of opportunities but I didn't make it. My coach said to me, after maybe five years you will not even remember that you played the Australian Open final or against who. It kind of helped me a little bit. Still, I remember it and it hurts, but now it's in the past."
Andreeva responded by taking to the ITF Tour in April and winning back-to-back W60 titles as a qualifier in Chiasso and Bellinzona. With her run, she became the first player to win two or more W60 titles before the age of 16. Her three wins in Madrid extended her win streak to 16 matches.
Highlights: M.Andreeva d. Fernandez
Asked to describe her game, Andreeva quickly pointed to one of the tour's most entertaining players.
"You don't have to play fast because I'm pretty good at keeping the fast rhythm and I can compare my game to maybe Ons Jabeur because I change the rhythm a lot, I play with topspin," Andreeva said. "I do drop shots a lot also and I change the rhythm."
Andreeva's older sister Erika, 18, is also making her way on the WTA Tour. Along with the Fruhvirtovas -- Linda, 17, and Brenda, 16 -- the duo are the latest pair of teenage sisters making waves on tour.
"Erika started at 5 or 6, maybe even earlier, and since I'm her younger sister, I was always on the court, maybe since I was 2," Mirra Andreeva said. "I was picking up some balls. But I started pretty late. I started at 6.
"It's great that teenagers are playing that great now and they have a possibility to play this tournament because IMG helps us. Erika, she also helps me out a lot with advice and she keeps motivating me."
Having picked up the game at home in Siberia and moving to Sochi to get proper training, the Andreeva sisters moved to Cannes, Frances, to set up their training base with coaches Jean-René Lisnard and Jean-Christophe Faurel. Faurel previously coached another teenage phenom, Coco Gauff.
"We knew that Daniil Medvedev had practiced [in Cannes]," Andreeva said. "Our agent talked to us about the academies and we had two choices to go either to a Rafa Nadal Academy or to Cannes. We came there, we tried one week, and I liked it and so we decided to work with them since the beginning of 2022."
While the Andreeva sisters practiced together growing up, Mirra says it's been years since they've played even a practice set against each other. Asked to contrast their game styles, Andreeva describes herself as more 'Ons Jabeur' and her older sister as 'Iga Swiatek.'
"Now it will be interesting if we will play against each other," Mirra said. "I really don't know who will win.
"I think maybe she will win the first time because she has more experience. But we know each other's game so well. If I will do some drop shots, she will run like 20 seconds before because she knows what I'm doing."
Five quick hits with Mirra Andreeva
Why did you choose tennis?
"Actually, I didn't pick this sport. My mom did. I'm really happy that she did that because honestly, when my coaches give me five days to rest, I cannot even think [about] anything else [but] tennis. I'm really happy that my mom picked this sport because I feel that I really belong to this sport."
What does your first WTA win mean to you?
"After I had the two great weeks in Switzerland and I have a pretty good confidence, so this gives me just much more confidence."
Are you still planning to play junior events?
"I'm limited in tournaments [because of the WTA Age Eligibility Rule]. So I will continue, I think, this year to play some big junior tournaments, maybe Slams."
What is your favorite shot?
"We've been working on my forehand a lot. But for now, I can say that my backhand is my biggest weapon, especially the backhand down the line. Maybe after this, I'll pick my serve because today I did four or five aces.
"Here in Madrid, my serve is really good, so I hope it will be like this the whole tournament."
What has it been like to be at your first WTA 1000?
"I feel a bit weird because it's my second WTA tournament and my first was in Monastir, but there were not a lot of famous players. Here almost every day I see Andy Murray, Daniil Medvedev and all the players from home. They say hi to me and I'm like, 'Wow, how come they know me?' So, yes, it's pretty great."