Meet Dayana Yastremska, the 18-year-old whose Aus Open tears 'broke' Serena's heart (PHOTOS)
Odessa native Yastremska was dumped out of the 2019 Grand Slam season opener, losing in straight sets 6-2, 6-1 to her childhood "idol" Williams, who is favorite for the title and to win a record-equalling 24th major, at Rod Laver Arena, which reduced her to tears on the match's conclusion.
Noticing Yastremska had become upset, Williams nobly strode over to the young pro to console her, telling the world number 57 "you did amazing, don't cry!" and sharing an embrace.
Yastremska seemed to take it in her stride, later posting on Instagram..."Learned here in Australian Open a great lesson for the future to come. The season has just started!" and sharing a touching Instagram story of the moment Williams comforted her with the caption: "I took huge experience, next time, I'm gonna use it!"Also on rt.com 'You did amazing, don't cry!': Serena consoles tearful teenager Yastremska at Aus Open (VIDEO)
Reaching the third round was Yastremska’s best showing. She did that by battling back to defeat Carla Suárez Navarro from Spain 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in her first round match Down Under and to set up a second round date with home favorite Samantha Stosur.
The experienced Australian and 2011 US Open winner was dazzled off the court by a player nearly half her age 7-5, 6-2, to set up the date with Williams, whom she named her tennis hero growing up.
Yastremska wasn’t even born when Williams won her first major singles title in 1999. Born in 2000, she began playing tennis aged just 5 and grew up idolizing the American, eventually climbing the rankings to today be within only 41 ranking places behind the tennis legend.
As a junior player, Yastremska did reach a final at the Australian Open, that came in the doubles event in 2016 with partner Anastasia Zarycká, and as a singles player reached the final of the Wimbledon junior tournament, losing to Russian Anastasia Potapova.
Two years later, she featured at the US Open, exiting in the first round and the in the early stages at Wimbledon. Yastremska has won three senior singles titles including the Hong Kong Open last October.
Williams predicted a big future for the youngster, who later let reporters know what the star told her in the locker room after the match.
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В этот день, я хочу поблагодарить самых дорогих и родных мне людей – мою семью. Несмотря на расстояния, я всегда чувствую их веру и поддержку. Желаю всем весело провести этот праздник! С Новым Годом!🎉🎊🎆 Today, I would like to thank people who are the most precious and dear for me – my family. Despite the spaces between us, I am always feeling their confidence and support. I wish everyone to happily spend this day! Happy New Year! 🎆 🎉🎊 #DY2019 #newyear
“She said ‘don’t cry, you’re still young ... come on you don’t have to cry’,” the Ukrainian said.
“She told me a couple of nice words when we met in the changing room. She said ‘you are young, you are very good and you will be a good player in the future'.
"It’s nice to hear those words from a legend. If she thinks so then maybe that’s true. What I’m trying to do is to go to the level that people are going to talk about me the same, that I have something special.”
If Williams predictions are anything to go by, we could be seeing a lot more of Yastremska in the tennis headlines.