Mirra Andreeva, the 16-year-old qualifier, is into the third round of Wimbledon in her debut appearance. Andreeva was leading No.10 seed Barbora Krejcikova 6-3, 4-0 on Thursday when Krejcikova retired due to a left leg injury.
"It's not the way I wanted to win the match, of course," Andreeva said in her post-match press conference. "She had some problems with her foot. Of course, I wish her the speedy recovery."
Another major third round: Andreeva, who was runner-up at the Junior Australian Open earlier this year, has played only two Grand Slam events on the main tour. But both times, she has come through qualifying and made the third round, having also done so at Roland Garros last month.
On the lawns of Wimbledon, World No.102 Andreeva booked her spot in the third round when Krejcikova was forced to withdraw from their highly anticipated showdown after exactly an hour of play.
Andreeva is now the third-youngest player in the Open Era (since 1968) to reach the third round of Wimbledon as a qualifier. Only Kim Clijsters (1999) and Coco Gauff (2019) pulled off that feat at a younger age.
"It is my first experience on grass," Andreeva said. "It's just my fifth match. I like the grass so far. I'm not playing that bad.
"I met Andy Murray here. But I'm too shy to talk to him. When I see him, I try to leave the facility super quick just to not to talk to him because I'm super shy."
16, 68 - At 16y and 68d, Mirra Andreeva is the third-youngest qualifier to reach the R32 of the Women's Singles at Wimbledon in the Open Era, only older than Kim Clijsters (1999) and Cori Gauff (2019). Rising.#Wimbledon | @Wimbledon @WTA @WTA_insider pic.twitter.com/sRbt0J9irK— OptaAce (@OptaAce) July 6, 2023
Injury concerns for Krejcikova: 2021 Roland Garros champion Krejcikova had already been forced to take a medical time-out at the very end of her first-round win over Heather Watson on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Krejcikova was visited by the trainer after the first set and had her lower left leg worked on. The Czech soldiered on, but received more treatment after falling behind 3-0 in the second set. One game later, Krejcikova stopped play.
Determined play: A hampered Krejcikova would naturally struggle against the dogged play by Andreeva. The teenager matched strong groundstroke play with outstanding court coverage, running down almost every ball the Czech sent her way.
Andreeva attained her first break of the day by chasing down a Krejcikova drop shot and firing back a backhand passing winner to lead 4-3. Andreeva repeated that exact play in the first point of the 5-3 game, leading to a second consecutive service break and the one-set advantage.
Another passing winner gave Andreeva a quick break for 2-0 in the second set, as the injured Krejcikova found it increasingly difficult to keep up with the teen's game. Andreeva never faced a break point in the truncated encounter.
Looking ahead: Andreeva now has a chance to make the second week at a Grand Slam for the first time in her nascent career. In the third round, Andreeva will face No.22 seed Anastasia Potapova, who ousted another qualifier, Kaja Juvan, 6-3, 7-5.
Potapova won their only previous meeting in three sets in the first round of Monastir last year, which also happened to be Andreeva's first main-draw match on the Hologic WTA Tour.
"I will just do my best," Andreeva said. "If I can advance to the Round of 16, I will be super happy. If I can advance to the semifinal, I will be of course super happy. I will just try to do my best, then we will see what will I do. But honestly I don't have any goals. I just play."