LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Dayana Yastremska's late-season surge continued as the 18-year-old extended her winning streak to eight matches across two continents, storming into the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open semifinals in one hour and two minutes with a 6-1, 6-4 defeat of Margarita Gasparyan.
The Ukrainian sensation has now won 16 of her last 17 sets over the past fortnight. On Sunday, Yastremska won her maiden title in Hong Kong, catching a flight to Europe on the same night. On Tuesday, she won a three-hour marathon in Luxembourg that finished close to midnight over Varvara Lepchenko, winning a third-set tiebreak despite blowing six match points in the second set. On Wednesday, she stunned No.2 seed Garbiñe Muguruza to notch up her first ever career Top 20 victory.
Today, there was still no let-up. Like Yastremska, Gasparyan is a player who has been in fine form this autumn, announcing her return to form following multiple knee surgeries in style with the Tashkent title and a quarterfinal run last week in Linz. But - as with so many players in the past two weeks - there was an element of shellshock off the bat.
Firing winners at will off both wings, Yastremska blazed through the first seven points, ultimately breaking as the Russian offered up the first of four double faults, often at untimely junctures.
A handful of errors conceded the break back, but an undaunted Yastremska shook off the minor setback with ease, dropping just four more points in the next four games to race to a 23-minute set. Another two double faults would put Gasparyan down 1-5, and in the final game even the World No.124's usually spectacular backhand let her down with a brace of errors.
Yastremska's first-strike tennis, meanwhile, was not only lethal but accurate as the teenager struck eight winners to just four winners in the opening set - and she sustained her incredibly high level as the second set got under way, coming up with a cool-headed forehand angle to seize the first break for 3-1.
Gasparyan would manage to cling on to the scoreboard, raising her first serve percentage from 50% in the first set to 71% - and for a brief moment it seemed as this would pay off. Following a medical time-out, a rejuvenated Gasparyan broke back to level the score at 4-4 thanks to one blazing forehand down the line and another handful of Yastremska mistakes.
Once again, though, this was but a minor hurdle for the World No.66. Launching herself into a serious of returns that rocked Gasparyan back on her heels and continuing to unleash on her forehand - ultimately notching up 17 clean winners - Yastremska simply powered through eight of the final 10 points to seal her place in her second straight semifinal.
There, the 2015 Wimbledon junior runner-up will face a familiar foe in qualifier Belinda Bencic, who earlier gained revenge over her Linz conqueror Vera Lapko 6-4, 6-1 in the day's first quarterfinal. The pair have met twice in the past 13 months and split their wins, with the Swiss player taking the ITF $100,000 final in St. Petersburg last September 6-2, 6-3 and Yastremska capturing their New Haven qualifying tilt in August 7-6(5), 7-6(3).