WATCH: Yastremska saved two match points to win an emotional first round in Lyon on Tuesday.

Dayana Yastremska had just scored one of her most inspired wins of the 2022 seasons and admitted there was little joy to be found from it.

“My arms are shaking,” she told Camille Pin after saving two match points to overcome Ana Bogdan, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (7) at the Open 6e Sens Métropole de Lyon. “I would say simply: my heart stays at home and my mind is fighting here.

“This win, compared with everything going on in my country is nothing. I’m happy, at least, that I’m also fighting for my country.”

In what has been the most consequential week of the young Ukrainian’s life, Yastremska and her family were underground in an effort to evade Russian bombs before father Oleksandr made the difficult decision to send Dayana and sister Ivanna by boat to France—where the two were granted wild cards to play in Lyon.

“I just came from a country where there’s war, and there’s my family. It was very tough, emotionally, and I wish I could be at home now…I’m happy that I won for my country; at the same time, I’m very sad.”


Top-ranked Ukrainian Elina Svitolina expressed similarly mixed emotions half a world away in Monterrey, where she conquered the now-countryless Anastasia Potapova, 6-2, 6-1.

“I’m in a very sad mood but I’m happy that I’m here, playing tennis here. It’s so nice to play in front of you,” she said on court after the match.

It was Svitolina who led the charge on behalf of her fellow players to neutralize the Russian and Belarusian contingents for their part in attacking Ukraine, threatening to withdraw from the Abierto GNP Seguros, where she was set to be the No. 1 seed. The WTA tour, alongside the ATP, ITF and the four major tournaments ultimately acquiesced in time for her first round with Potapova, who, like many fellow Russians, released her own statement in opposition to her government's continued acts of military aggression.

“Children should continue to dream,” she wrote, echoing sentiments from Daniil Medvedev, the ATP’s new world No. 1.

Russian and Belarusian athletes will not only play without their country and flag, but will also be barred from team competitions like Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup, both of which were won by Russian players in 2021.

Understandably drained from conducting numerous interviews from her Monterrey hotel, Svitolina nonetheless played a decisive match on Tuesday evening. Dressed in Ukraine’s blue and yellow, she broke serve five times to win in 63 minutes flat.


“I was just focused, and on a mission for my country,” she said.

Ranked as high as No. 3 in the world, the 27-year-old has largely struggled to find her form in the post-pandemic landscape, compiling a 3-5 record through her first five events. Up against a nervy and error-prone Potapova, Svitolina was much more herself, displaying impressive speed behind the baseline while keeping her first serve at just under 70%, winning 73% of those points.

“I’ve played many years already on tour, so I kind of know who is in which form, who is playing from which side better or worse. I pretty much knew what to expect tonight,” she explained.

Svitolina concluded her on-court address by reaffirming her promise to donate her prize money to the Ukrainian army.

Draped in Ukraine’s flag, Yastremska was similarly deferential to her compatriots earlier in Lyon—encapsulating the sorrow-tinged admiration that emanated from both women after hard-fought victories.

“I’m very proud of the Ukrainians,” Yastremska said after pausing to collect herself. “They’re really heroes. I wish everything is going to finish soon.”