You may not know her yet, but you might soon: get to know 15-year-old Daria Lopatetska, just the latest in a group of promising teenaged talents to come out of Ukraine.
Victoria Chiesa
January 9, 2019

The Ukrainian boom on the WTA Tour is alive and well, even in the early months of 2019. 

With Elina Svitolina firmly entrentched in the Top 10, and the nation's No.2 Lesia Tsurenko fresh off her biggest career final at the Brisbane International, the blue and yellow seem set for a banner season. 

The success doesn't seem to be limited to Ukraine's two best players, however, as teenage sensation Dayana Yastremska cut her WTA ranking by over 100 places in 2018 and won her first title, while another in Marta Kostyuk made waves by becoming the youngest player to reach a Grand Slam third round in over a decade

However, a third 2000s-baby seems armed to make that teenaged duo a trio, sooner rather than later. 

Fifteen-year-old Daria Lopatetska - who went by Dasha Lopatetskaya in junior competiton before this season - already won an ITF title in the first week of 2019, the third of her professional career. 

Read on to learn why the gregarious teenager could be one to watch both now and in the future. 

Dasha Lopatetska, Fed Cup 2018 (Getty)

1. She's already winning a lot in the women's ranks.

Born in 2003, Lopatetska has made tennis die-hards stand up and take notice: the teenager has already posted a 27-3 record on the ITF Circuit in her fledging career to date, despite only making her debut last June.

In 2018, she had a perfect start in the professional ranks, winning her first 17 matches, and two ITF titles, with the loss of just two sets in that span. 

"I first played two $15,000 [events] and I won them. I mean, I was just enjoying it out there, because the girls were 10, 15 years older than me and there was zero pressure on me," she recalled at the US Open, where she came through qualifying and reached the girls' singles semifinals, upsetting top seed Coco Gauff along the way.

"My first tournament was from qualies, because I didn't get into the main draw, but I won there. It was really great. Everyone was asking me, 'Are you really 15?' before a match.

"Everyone was really surprised that I'm 15, but I was really enjoying it out there and was really, really relaxed there."

She tested the waters in her biggest professional event to date at a $60,000 ITF in Saguenay, Canada, where she upset former Top 100 Brit Naomi Broady en route to the last eight - suffering her first professional-level defeat there against Canadian Katherine Sebov. 

Lopatetska's run in the women's ranks nonetheless continued to begin 2019, as the youngster christened the new ITF World Tennis Tour in a big way by winning the first $25,000 event in Hong Kong without dropping a set.


Though her current WTA ranking sits just inside the world's Top 500 at No.492, Lopatetska used an ITF World Tennis Ranking of No.115 to take up one of the five main draw places reserved for those with ITF rankings under the new system.

Her hot start to the season has continued this week in Hong Kong, as she save match points to qualify, and upset another promising teenage talent in Wang Xinyu from a set down in the first round.

2. She's learned from the best.

Though she returned home to Ukraine last year to train with childhood coach Denis Leleko, Lopatetska previously spent time honing her talents abroad. 

"I want to work on each shot, more and more. For me, I can do much, much more, better. I can hit harder, I can open up the court much better, so I just need to work, work, work...and I love to work."
Dasha Lopatetska

That journey took her to the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in France – run by Patrick Mouratoglou, coach of Serena Williams.

“I'm really thankful for [the academy], especially Patrick and all the coaches, and what they did for me, but sometimes you need to change, and it's good to change. I'm at home now, with my family, with my sister," she revealed in New York.

"I love them so much. I miss them really a lot, because I'm traveling to the tournaments a lot and I see them really rarely. It's always good to be at home with my coach. He's from my club – I started to practice there when I was four years old so it's really my home."

3. She's eager to improve - on the court and off. 

Limited in the amount of professional tournaments she can play due to her age, Lopatetska has been keen to recognize that much of her time will, for now, be best spent on the practice courts. 

"I want to work on each shot, more and more. For me, I can do much, much more, better," she said. 

"I can hit harder, I can open up the court much better, so I just need to work, work, work. I don't feel like there is a big problem with my technique, but I just need to work – and I love to work."

That isn't just limited to the tennis, however: when she arrived at the Mouratoglou Academy, the teenager was quickly forced to step outside her comfort zone, and get to work in another way.

"I started to learn my English thanks to my mom, because she gave me to the English school when I was, like, four years old - but I was always shy to talk in English. When I came to Mouratoglou, I needed to speak English or French - and English was easier!" she said. 

"I just started to talk a lot in interviews, and we all talk in the ITF juniors, so to talk in English is really comfortable to me. Sometimes, it depends on my mood - I speak Russian with my coach, my family - I speak Ukrainian, too - but my phone is on English. [Sometimes], I need to talk in English with my sister, because she also speaks English.

She added with a laugh: "My mom doesn't, so when my sister and I need to talk to each other, we do it in English so she doesn't understand! 

Dasha Lopatetska, Fed Cup 2018 (Getty)
Lopatetska (far r) at Ukraine's Fed Cup draw vs. Australia last February. (Getty)

4. She loves to represent her country...

Lopatetska's promising start to her career was rewarded with a nomination to Ukraine's World Group II tie in Australia last February at the age of 14, and she also led her country to an appearance in the junior Fed Cup final last fall. 

"In Ukraine, a lot of people support me, even from a distance. I love my country and I'm really thankful to play [for] it," she said. 

"I play a lot of events for the Ukrainian team. I love to represent Ukraine and see Ukrainian flags when I'm playing. It's really pumping me up and I'm just really grateful."

5. ...and she seems on the rise at just the right time.

Wise beyond her years, the youngster is eager to take in all she can from the successful group of compatriots that currently surrounds her. 

Lopatetska continued: "For me, Ukraine has the best girls...now. Our next generation of Marta, Dayana, Katarina Zatavska, and starting with Elina, Lesia, Lyudmyla and Nadiia Kichenok – everyone is doing great out there on the tour now."

Related: Kostyuk kicks off 2018 US Open with classic Court 9 qualies clash

"I'm trying to get those results, and maybe one day, 10 years, five years, I'll do better than them. That's a goal, but I'm really grateful that we have all these players, and it's an honor to represent [Ukraine] in the team matches with them.

"We have amazing players, and I'm just trying to be like them."