Days after woken up by bombs in her home in war-torn Ukraine, Dayana Yastremska agonisingly fell short of claiming the Lyon Open title on Sunday, losing her fifth WTA final to China's Zhang Shuai. (More Tennis News)
But that was not a setback big enough to dampen her spirits. After the match, the 21-year-old invoked Ukrainian's "amazing spirit" and pledged to "fight" for her country. Just the girl power worth celebrating this International Women’s Day 2022.
Every year, March 8 is celebrated as International Women’s Day to promote women’s rights and honour their achievements. Yastremska is doing her bit. In fact, she is being hailed for her fight during extraordinary circumstances.
On the occasion, UN Women on Tuesday shared a strong message, which read: "Today is the day to commit to standing up for the human rights of women everywhere. Let's unite for an equal and sustainable future! #IWD2022".
Happy International Women's Day!— UN Women (@UN_Women) March 8, 2022
Today is the day to commit to standing up for the human rights of women everywhere.
Let's unite for an equal and sustainable future! #IWD2022pic.twitter.com/61pnJeCoU3
Yastremska was in Ukraine when Russia launched its invasion. She spent two nights sheltering in an underground car park from missile strikes before escaping with her 15-year-old sister Ivanna through Romania while their parents stayed behind in Odessa.
The 140th-ranked Yastremska had a remarkable run to her fifth career final after being given a wild card to play at the tournament. She beat second-seeded Sorana Cirstea 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4 in the semifinals.
Yastremska lost the Lyon Open final 3-6 6-3 6-4. This was her first final since losing to Australia's Ash Barty at Adelaide in 2020.
After the match, draped in her country's flag, she tearfully addressed the Lyon crowd and sent a message to her compatriots who remain in Ukraine.
"If Ukrainian people are watching me, I want to say 'you guys are so strong, you have an amazing spirit, and I tried to fight for Ukraine'," she said.
She is donating her prize money of about £12,000 to aid Ukraine, saying she is also fighting for her country.
"The prize money I earn here I'm going to give to the Ukrainian Foundation to support Ukraine.
"Thanks to the public for the support. I've been fighting all week, not only for myself but also for my country.
"Everybody was supporting me a lot. I felt so much power from the people here."
Yastremska meanwhile climbed 37 places, from No.140 to No. 103 in Monday's WTA singles rankings.
She will now compete in the Indian Wells Masters as a wildcard. The spot was initially given to Naomi Osaka, but the Japanese star moved into the main draw directly after Camila Giorgi pulled out of the tournament.
Yastremska could not compete in the first half of 2021 due to a provisional anti-doping suspension that was eventually lifted upon appeal.