15-Year-Old Qualifier Marta Kostyuk Reaches Third Round of Australian Open
(January 17, 2018) Last year’s Australian junior champion Marta Kostyuk, ranked No. 521 in the world came through the qualifying and is now in the third round of the first major tennis event of the year.
The 15-year-old Ukrainian followed up her upset win over 25th seed Shuai Peng in the first round with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Australian wildcard Olivia Rogowska on day three.
Kostyuk is now the youngest player since Martina Hingis in 1996 to win a main draw match at the Australian Open.
“I was lucky that I played finals on Rod Laver last year (in the junior final),” said the Ukrainian teenager. “So I kind of knew how is it to play on the big court.
“Well, I was tight. Was pretty tight in the beginning, but not in the shots; more in the serve.
“So I was struggling, because it’s different. Serve is the most difficult to get used to in different.”
Kostyuk is managed by Ivan Ljubicic, who is part of Roger Federer’s coaching team.
“Ivan is always helping me … after every match, he’s telling me what’s wrong,” she said after the win.
When she was younger, she loved tennis but sometimes did not enjoy it. “I actually said that I wasn’t enjoying it, you know. So, I mean, I was loving tennis. I keep loving it.
“ But I never — like, I always want to win, no matter what. If I was losing, it was, like, tragedy, you know. It was, like, I don’t want to play anymore. Why I’m playing? So it was like — but then when I was small. Then when I was growing up, when I was losing more, you just — you don’t take it that close.
“No, well, now I start to enjoy it finally.”
I was lucky that I played finals on Rod Laver last year. So I kind of knew how is it to play
While Kostyuk was winning in Margaret Court Arena, her countrywoman and next opponent Elina Svitolina, rallied to beat Katerina Siniakova a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in Rod Laver Arena.
Svitolina, the fourth seed, will face off against the teenage for a spot in the fourth round on Friday.
Kostyuk talked about her next match against Svitoliona: “Well, I will just enjoy it. I think I’m going to play on big court again, but I will just try to show my best tennis, because I’m pretty sure, like, all my opponents, she will struggle a little bit, and I will try to use this. That’s what I’m going to do. I know a little bit how Elina is playing, but I still didn’t go to the details.”
“Well, first time I heard about her when she won here,” said Svitolina. “You know, it’s good, it’s pretty cool that I’m playing someone from my country. Yeah, it’s gonna be very exciting for me and hopefully, you know, I can, yeah, be ready for that match.
“You know, it’s not every day that, you know, I can play someone who’s from my country. And especially for Ukrainian supporters it’s going to be fun to watch, I guess.
“Yeah, it’s pretty cool.”
“She has nothing to lose, so that’s why I know she goes just for everything. You know, like a little bit like headless chicken.
“You know, we’ll see. I will try to prepare and, yeah, be ready for her game. For me it’s very important for me to be there with my game and don’t really think who is in the other, who’s in the other side.
“You know, I have been playing like this for almost one year and a half, so, you know, it’s not gonna change for my next match, as well.”
“She’s the opponent who’s gonna play against me, and she’s gonna produce some good tennis, so I will be ready for it and, yeah, just take it as a next match.”
A third Ukrainian woman also advanced on Wednesday – Kateryna Bondarenko, defeated 15th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-3.