Mirra Andreeva's breakout week at the Mutua Madrid Open continued on Saturday, her 16th birthday, with a 6-3, 6-3 win over No.17 seed Magda Linette.
Already the seventh youngest player since 2000 to score a Top 20 win when she beat No.13 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia in the second round, Andreeva made it two straight against players in that ranking range by knocking off Linette in 1 hour and 27 minutes.
Getting to know: Five quick hits with Mirra Andreeva
Runner-up at the junior Australian Open in January, Andreeva's winning streak in all professional matches now stands at 16, and she'll be the next opponent for another player who excelled Down Under this year when she faces Melbourne women's champion Aryna Sabalenka.
"I didn't expect to be here and playing Sabalenka in the Round of 16," Andreeva told Tennis Channel's Prakash Amritraj afterward. "I'm not really surprised with my level, because I know the way I can play on the court ... but of course, I didn't expect to be here and go this far."
How the match was won: Two multi-deuce games to start the match, both won by Andreeva, set the tone for the teenager's latest victory. She held serve on her third game point and broke Linette from 40-15 to take a lead she would not relinquish.
Andreeva broke Linette's serve four times, and after she was broken in the fifth game of the second set, never lost serve again. Crucially, she saved the only two break points she faced after that at 2-1 in the second set. Andreeva kept that lead for the duration of the set until she finished the match with her fourth and final break.
"She's an amazing player because she plays so consistent," Andreeva said. "She doesn't miss a lot. I tried to just play my game. I just tried to cut the rhythm a lot. ... I tried to play aggressive and I made it through."
Scouting Sabalenka: With wins over Haddad Maia, Linette and 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez, Andreeva is already 3-0 vs. the Top 50 at this event. She will now step up against a Top 10 player for the first time in the form of World No.2 Sabalenka.
It's a challenge she says she'll relish.
"I have nothing to lose," Andreeva said. "I just have to go there and show the best tennis I can. There is no pressure at all for me. There is some pressure on her, I think, because she's going to play a 16-year-old girl. Most probably, we will play on some stadium, so I'm excited to do that."