HOBART, Australia - Dayana Yastremska overcame a slow start to ultimately race past former World No.27 Laura Siegemund, 6-3, 6-1, advancing into the second round of the Hobart International.
"It's my first time playing here, and I really love it," the Ukrainain said during her on-court interview. "I appreciate everyone who came here to watch me. It wasn't easy conditions because of the wind, but you have to get used to it and that's what I did. I'm happy to get through."
Yastremska ended a breakthrough 2018 season on a high, becoming the first player born in the 2000s to crack the Top 100, winning her first title at the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open, and reaching the semifinals at the BGL Luxembourg Open. Forced to retire from her first main draw match of the new season in Brisbane, Yastremska rallied from an early 0-2 deficit to defeat Siegemund after one hour and 14 minutes on court.
"I was a bit nervous because it was my first match of the year; I don't count Brisbane," she explained after the match. "I prepared myself to control only what I could, and so it was important for me to stay focused and stable in my mind. I think it was a good match."
Taking on a crafty opponent in Siegemund - who won the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart back in 2017 - Yastremska brought a power game to her Hobart debut, striking 17 winners to just six from the German. Converting five of 12 break point opportunities, she broke serve to love to seal her spot in the second round.
"The most important thing was to stay calm, especially this match. I tried to be dedicated to every ball, and play point by point."
Now 18, she has been working with full-time coach Olivier Jeunehomme, and has former World No.1 Justine Henin in her corner as a consultant.
"We prepared physically over the off-season, and then we tried to improve things in my game, make a few changes and add some variety."
Yastremska is set to make her Australian Open main draw debut, but will first take on No.5 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova or Belarusian Vera Lapko for a place in the Hobart International quarterfinals.
"I never played Pavlyuchenkova, but I've played Vera a few times last year and the year before. They're both very good, so I'm going to watch the match, and try to prepare well so I have good tactics."