Mirra Andreeva thrilled to catch Andy Murray’s eye after reaching fourth round

By Sports Desk January 19, 2024

Sixteen-year-old Mirra Andreeva made her latest statement with a miracle comeback to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open – but that was topped by knowing Andy Murray was watching her.

Andreeva and Murray interacted after the Russian teenager spoke of her admiration for the former world number one at her breakthrough tournament in Madrid last spring, describing him as “beautiful”.

And Murray was up early back home in the UK following Andreeva’s progress as she took on France’s Diane Parry.

The teenager’s run looked poised to end when she trailed 5-1 in the third set and struggled to hold back tears, but Andreeva kept fighting and saved a match point on her way to a 1-6 6-1 7-6 (10/5) victory.

Afterwards, Murray wrote on the social media site X, formerly Twitter: “Andreeva down 5-1 in third. Commentator “she really needs to work on mental side of her game.. she’s too hard on herself when she’s losing” 30 minutes later 7-6 Andreeva wins.

“Maybe the reason she turned the match round is because of her mental strength. Maybe she turned the match around because she is hard on herself and demands more of herself when she’s losing/playing badly? Winner.”

Andreeva was delighted by Murray’s attention, saying: “I didn’t really think that he would watch a match, then after he would tweet, he would comment something.

“Honestly, I will try to print it out somehow. I don’t know, I will put it in a frame. I will bring it everywhere with me. I will maybe put it on the wall so I can see it every day.”

It is the second time Andreeva, who was beaten in the junior final here 12 months ago, has reached the fourth round at a slam after Wimbledon last year and she is closing in on the top 30 in the rankings despite being restricted to 12 tournaments a year because of her age.

She showed all the skills that make her the most exciting young talent in the world to turn around the deciding set, dragging Parry all around the court with her use of angles and showing deft touch on drop shots and lobs.

“Because I won the last time I played her, I had kind of an advantage,” said Andreeva. “I felt like that maybe I should win because I won pretty easy on the score.

“When you think like this, it always happens like 1-6 in the first set. Then I just decided fight, to win one game at a time.

“Maybe being harsh on myself actually helped me. I just try to think positively. This harshness, let’s say, helped me with it because I am not very positive in my head usually. I just kept pushing myself. I was saying not good words to myself.”

A number of upsets have left the women’s draw very open in places, although Andreeva would probably have to get past defending champion Aryna Sabalenka in the quarter-finals if she wants to reach the final stages.

“I don’t think it’s a big deal,” she said of her wins so far. “Fourth round, yes, I’m 16, maybe it’s a bit new.

“Fourth round is nothing. Maybe if I win a slam, I have to win three more matches, and it’s really tough to win seven matches in a row. I don’t think that I did something incredible. I have time to do it, I hope.”

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