PBG Eagles defeated SG Mavericks Kites to clinch the second edition of World Tennis League in Abu Dhabi yesterday. Image Credit: WTL

Abu Dhabi: Mirra Andreeva began the year virtually as an unknown, but the Russian teen has made remarkable strides since getting a wildcard into the Madrid Open and sealed an impressive year with the World Tennis League title at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

The 15-year-old’s career took a big turn when she defeated Lyelah Fernandez in the Madrid main draw. For Andreeva, giving up is simply not an option. The never say attitude helped her seal a place in the French Open main draw, where she lost in the third round. She went one step ahead and lost Coca Gauff in the fourth round.

Mirra Andreeva fortunes in Abu Dhabi followed a similar path after being named as a replacement for Belinda Bencic Image Credit: WTL

Her fortunes in Abu Dhabi followed a similar path after being named as a replacement for Belinda Bencic and led the Eagles on the path to the title with a stunning show in the mixed doubles, where she lost narrowly after partnering with Daniil Medvedev against Paula Badosa and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

But what followed was even better when she partnered with Sofia Kenin to script a great comeback to defeat Paula Badosa and Aryna Sabalenka in the second match to bring the Eagles back in the final.

Trailing 2-5, Andreeva and Kenin lost the game when they decided to challenge the line call for a double fault, which turned in Eagles’ favour. From there it was no looking back as they won the next five games on the trot to win 7-5.

Heavy thoughts

Talking about the mindset that took them to win, Andreeva said: “After the double fault, I thought it’s over, but we challenged and it was in, so we were very happy.

“Sometimes I get upset when somethings don’t go my way. I think about those mistakes and it’s all the heavy thoughts in my head. Now I’m trying now to just let it go. if I miss it okay, even Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal also miss. So just let it go,” is what the 16-year-old is trying to include it in her game.

Kenin followed it up with a shock win over Sabalenka put the Eagles in a commanding position. Despite Grigor Dimitrov defeating Andrey Rublev in the last singles, still it was not enough to stop the Eagles from winning the second edition of the World Tennis League title. The Eagles won a glittering trophy and Dh1 million while Kites had to be contended with Dh500,000.

Talking about her participation in the World Tennis League, Andreeva said she is happy to be part of the Eagles’ team and the atmosphere of the team.

“When they first told me that that I’m going to be a replacement in the WTL, I was wondering who’s going to pull out from this tournament? But Belinda Bencic pulled out and I got a chance to play. I was super happy that I will be playing with Andrey, Daniil and Sophia. I didn’t really know them well but I am just enjoying being around them as it’s my first big exhibition tournament,” the 46th ranked Andreeva added. “My goal for the new year is to go higher in the ranking, which will get more attention.”