Teen phenom Mirra Andreeva enjoyed a victorious debut at the Brisbane International, defeating 19-year-old Diana Schnaider 6-2, 6-3 in the first round on Sunday.
Andreeva, 16, will face Liudmila Samsonova in the second round.
Coming off a breakthrough season that saw her finish at No.57 and voted WTA Newcomer of the Year, Andreeva picked up right where she left off. In her first match of the new season, Andreeva successfully blunted Schnaider’s powerful baseline game to ease through a 75-minute victory. She went unbroken in the match, saving the sole break point she faced, which came in the penultimate game of the match.
“Honestly, I was very, very nervous before this match because I know Diana for a long time,” Andreeva told WTA Insider. “Erika played with her on a team, so I know her very well. So I was super happy to get the win today.”
“I tried to stay low in my legs because the courts really fast compared to Abu Dhabi where I practiced before. So the first few days were not the best for me, but I tried to do my best. Today, I’m really happy with my level.”
If Andreeva showed no signs of rust it is because she never stepped away from competition. After six days at home after her final tournament in Hong Kong, Andreeva was back on court. Instead of a longer pre-season, she spent much of the off-season playing club tennis in France and an exhibition in the Middle East.
“I felt like I didn’t have enough time to prepare for this season, but for me it’s okay,” Andreeva said. “If I didn’t have time to work really hard, I’m not sad. Maybe next time I will try to have a longer pre-season, but this time it’s okay.”
As she looks to build on her breakout season, Andreeva is aiming to crack the Top 30. To get there, she is putting concerted work into her serve.
“I’m pretty tall, I think, so to have free points with my serve would be great. We are improving and working on my serve and I think it’s getting better. It’s still not the best serve that I can get, but we are working every day for it and we will see if I will improve or not.”
For now, Andreeva is looking forward to her Australian Open main draw debut. Last year she was a runner-up in the girls’ competition. After all, more time in Australia means more opportunities to finally get that photo with one of her favorite players, Andy Murray.
“He said hi to me first a couple of days ago and asked me how I am doing,” Andreeva said. “If I will not be shy I will ask him for a photo.”
In other early results, Australian wild card Anastasia Rodionova continued her outstanding run of form to defeat No.42 Martina Trevisan 6-3, 6-2. Rodionova, 34, won back-to-back events on the ITF World Tour in November and December to boost her ranking up to No.114. Her win over Trevisan is her first Top 50 victory since January 2020.
Rodionova will face 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in the second round.