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Ukrainian qualifier Yastremska beats Noskova to reach Australian Open semi-finals

Yastremska is through to the semi-finals
Yastremska is through to the semi-finalsAFP
Ukraine's Dayana Yastremska (23) cruised past unseeded Czech Linda Noskova (19) on Wednesday to become just the second women's qualifier in the Open Era to reach the semi-finals at the Australian Open.

In searing conditions on Rod Laver Arena, the world number 93 broke three times to win 6-3, 6-4 in 78 minutes and set up a last-four clash against unseeded Russian Anna Kalinskaya or Chinese 12th seed Zheng Qinwen.

Yastremska is the first women's qualifier to reach the last four at the season-opening Grand Slam since Australia's Christine Matison in 1978.

"It's nice to make history, because at that time I wasn't even born," she said. "Next generation and nice to make history. I'm super happy.

"I played good, but I didn't really feel like I'm playing really good. I just play like I can. I'm really a little bit tired and everything that was left was just fighting."

Yastremska faced a tough battle to reach the main draw at Melbourne Park, being taken the distance in all three of her qualifying matches.

But she moved up a gear when the season-opening Grand Slam started, hammering Wimbledon champion and seventh seed Marketa Vondrousova in the first round and eliminating two-time champion Victoria Azarenka in the fourth round.

Czech world number 50 Noskova had significant scalps of her own, including world number one Iga Swiatek, whom she ousted in the third round.

Noskova was the first to make a move in their quarter-final, breaking in the third game, only for her opponent to hit straight back to level at 2-2.

Another break in the eighth game for Yastremska gave her the chance to serve out for the set and she made no mistake.

The key moment in the second set came in the seventh game when Yastremska thundered a backhand winner past Noskova to break and she went on to wrap up victory with minimum fuss.

The 23-year-old, whose career-high ranking is 21, was cleared of doping in June 2021 following an appeal after a failed test that resulted in an initial ban.

Yastremska, who has won three WTA singles titles, was the first qualifier since eventual champion Emma Raducanu at the 2021 US Open to reach the quarter-finals at a major.

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