THERE is no shortage of top-end Ukrainian talent on the WTA Tour, and while Daria “Dasha” Lopatetska may not yet be among the trio of Elina Svitolina, Dayana Yastremska and Marta Kostyuk in the top 100, the 17-year-old is well on her way to creating a stir on Tour. Still splitting much of her competitive time between the WTA and ITF Tours, Lopatetska has proved consistent and threatening on the ITF Tour, with five titles to her name across 2018 and 2019 – with three in the first three months of the year – before injury struck. Only a lack of consistent matchplay due to the COVID-19 pandemic and her step up to the WTA circuit have limited her silverware in 2020.
While the youngster underwent knee surgery in May 2019 for a torn meniscus, it was the generosity of compariot and Ukrainian number one Svitolina – currently ranked fifth in the world – that allowed Lopatetska to get back on the court. The Ukrainian talent showcased plenty of determination, getting back to business and showing she was more than capable of stepping up to the plate on Tour.
“I am really driven,” Lopatetska told the International Tennis Federation in October. “I really love tennis – it is my life. It is something I am passionate about. It is my work and you need to love what you do otherwise it doesn’t make any sense to do it. I am really driven about tennis and I am happy about that.”
While Lopatetska has been playing on the international women’s circuit for a couple of years now, she was eligible for the 2020 Junior Roland Garros this year through her professional ranking and took her chances, although unfortunately fell short in the second round to Russian 17-year-old, Oksana Selekhmeteva.
“It is always special to play a Junior Grand Slam. I remember my first, and last, where I had an amazing run to the semi-finals of the US Open [in 2018] and I am just so grateful to be at a Grand Slam again.”
“I have been focusing more on professional tournaments but it is nice to be back in this atmosphere and I am appreciating the present.”
Currently ranked 355th in the world after peaking at world number 216 in June 2019 following her ITF success, the Ukrainian 17-year-old still has a long way to go but has proven she has the ability to go far and really push her case to break back into the 200s, and certainly has the determination to really create a challenging prospect on the WTA Tour with her winning mentality.