Skip to main content


Andreeva, 16, advances with upset win over Jabeur

Mirra Andreeva Mirra Andreeva - The Canadian Press

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — When their paths crossed after first-round wins, 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva saw Ons Jabeur make a light-hearted gesture that signaled she could see her.

The three-time Grand Slam runner-up probably didn't really see what was coming her way at the Australian Open.

The first set was over in 20 minutes. The match was over in 54 minutes Wednesday, with Andreeva advancing to the third round 6-0, 6-2.

“In the first set, I showed amazing tennis,” she said. "I honestly didn’t expect that from myself. I’m super happy with the level that I showed."

After being the third of a trio of 16-year-olds into the second round, following Alina Korneeva and Brenda Fruhvirtova, Andreeva is the only one still in the tournament.

They all played on the Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday, with the tournament shining a spotlight on youth.

Korneeva lost 6-1, 6-2 to 10th-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia, who was coming off a first-round win over 18-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova — the older sister of Brenda.

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka saw the result of the day's opening match and didn't take any chances against Brenda Fruhvirtova in the night session, winning 6-3, 6-2.

“She’s an incredible player for someone 16 years old,” second-ranked Sabalenka said. “First six games was really great level."

For her part, Fruhvirtova said it was a good sign for tennis that three players aged 16 were competing on one of the sport's biggest stages.

“Yeah, we were playing three 2007s today on the center court, which is pretty cool,” she said. “I think it’s really good.”

Andreeva went into the tournament knowing that a first main draw win at the Australian Open — to complete a Grand Slam set — could pay off with a second-round encounter against one of her childhood tennis inspirations.

Sixth-seeded Jabeur reached back-to-back major finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2022 and was runner-up at Wimbledon again last year.

Andreeva admired the Tunisian star and closely observed how she approached the sport, on and off the court.

Jabeur is renowned for her drop shots and slice, something that Andreeva wanted to emulate. Her backhand drop shot to earn set points in the first was a classic.

“Yes, I was preparing for this match, and I knew what she was going to do,” Andreeva said. “I’m also not very bad at dropshots (but) I decided at first to not to do a lot of dropshots, because I think that she’s better.

“It was just the momentum when I decided to do a lot. I think she’s still better than me in this, but I will improve!”

That she will. In her only previous match on Rod Laver Arena, Andreeva left in tears after a loss to Korneeva in the junior final last year.

“I was just super upset. I didn’t think about anything else,” she said. “For maybe a week I was just replaying the match in my head, and I was thinking: 'I should have changed this, should have changed that, I should have changed this.”

Then the reality of it struck her; it’s a game of on-court skill but also of mental resilience.

“It’s not the most painful loss of my life,” she said. “After that, I just moved on.”

She reached the third round at the French Open in her Grand Slam main draw debut and the fourth round at Wimbledon before rounding off the 2023 majors with a second-round exit at the U.S. Open.

Andreeva's opening 7-5, 6-2 win over Bernarda Pera was her first in the main draw in Australia, making her the youngest player since Coco Gauff in 2000 to win matches at all four majors.

Her win over Jabeur was her first over a player ranked in the top 10, another career milestone.

“I just feel like I’m a bit more mature,” Andreeva said in her on-court TV interview, comparing her two latest trips to Australia. It generated a few laughs and the next obvious remark: but you're only 16. “That’s true, but last year I was 15! So, in this year I think I changed a lot and I think you can see that on the court."

In a later news conference, she summed up her progress to date: “I don’t think that I achieved something incredible. I have time still to do that.”


AP tennis: