Lyon Open: Ukraine's Yastremska says 'spirit strong' after reaching final

Yastremska will face China's Zhang Shuai on Sunday in a bid to win her first title since her triumph at Strasbourg in 2019.

The finalist and her younger sister spent two nights in an underground car park last week before escaping out of Ukraine via Romania to France.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Ukrainian tennis player Dayana Yastremska, who was forced to flee her home after Russia's invasion last week, said her spirit was strong after reaching the final of the Lyon Open.

The world number 128 beat Romania's Sorana Cirstea 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4 over the course of two hours 31 minutes in a hard-fought victory at the WTA 250 event on Saturday.

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The 21-year-old and her younger sister Ivanna spent two nights in an underground car park last week before their parents sent them out of Ukraine by boat to Romania and then on to France.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation".

"I read a lot of news every day," Yastremska told a news conference. "Sometimes during the night I get messages from groups with the news.

"Sometimes I wake up and read what's going on, especially with my city. So I wouldn't say I sleep here really good. I wake up pretty tired in the morning.

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"But my spirit is pretty strong right now. That's why I think I can deal with everything happening. I'm Ukrainian, and Ukrainian people are very strong. You can see that now during the war."

On Sunday, Yastremska will face China's Zhang Shuai in a bid to win her first title since her triumph at Strasbourg in 2019.

The 33-year-old Zhang beat local hope Caroline Garcia 6-2 7-5 in the semi-final.

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