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Support helps Ukrainian to Lyon Open final

Ukrainian tennis star Dayana Yastremska says enormous public support helped lift her into the WTA Lyon Open final after she edged out second seed Sorana Cirstea in a three-set thriller.

Yastremska was forced to leave home in Odessa last month amid the escalation of the Ukraine-Russia crisis and has embarked on an emotional run through this week’s tournament in France.

The 21-year-old wildcard admitted she has been overwhelmed by support from across the globe amid her winning streak, which grew on Saturday as she beat Cirstea 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-4 victory in their semi-final.

“It was a really tough match,” Yastremska said. “In the third set, when I had match points and I lost that game, I was a bit crazy. I thought, I’m done, I’ve lost, because I don’t have any more power.

“Then everybody was supporting me, and I felt like, ‘you can do it’. I got a lot of messages from French people and from all over the world. But when I arrived here, I didn’t expect I would get that huge support.”

Yastremska will face Zhang Shuai in Sunday’s final, after the Chinese eighth seed defeated French home favourite Caroline Garcia 6-2 7-5.

For Yastremska, it will be her first final since losing to world No.1 Ash Barty in Adelaide at the start of 2020 – her only previous tournament success came in Strasbourg the year before.

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