Rising star Daria Gavrilova will be playing for a coveted grand slam seeding as well as a place in the last 16 at the Australian Open on Friday.
The new darling of Australian tennis is finding it tough to contain herself ahead of a showcourt shootout with fellow young gun Kristina Mladenovic.
“I’m just really excited and I’m already looking forward to my next match,” Gavrilova said after lighting up Rod Laver Arena with a stunning 6-4 6-4 defeat of dual Wimbledon champion and sixth seed Petra Kvitova on Wednesday night.
The victory follows Gavrilova’s march to the Hopman Cup title with Nick Kyrgios and the new fan favourite says she’s feeding off the Melbourne Park crowds as she continues her dream Open run.
“I love the crowd. I love people watching me. It helps me a lot,” she beamed.
“But I don’t care (where I play), as long as there’s people.”
There are bound to be loads of spectators on hand once again as Gavrilova looks to take another giant stride up the ranks with victory over her former junior rival Mladenovic.
Gavrilova was judged the best newcomer on the women’s tour last year after surging from outside the top 100 to a peak of world No.35.
Now the former world junior champion is projected to claim a fresh career-high ranking of No.34 after charging to the third round in Melbourne.
Success over Mladenovic will thrust her inside the top 32 and in position for a French Open seeding.
Gavrilova believes it’s her time as a host of new-age stars begin to make their mark at the grand slams after years of domination by the old brigade led by Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and the like.
“There are so many girls now coming through. I’m not going to name them all. But already this week there are a few in the third round. It’s great,” Gavrilova said.
“We’re all excited. We’re all pretty friendly. We hang out together. We’re all supporting each other. I think it’s going to be awesome.
“A few girls have already made the second week, even made semi-finals (at slams). So I think a lot of us who haven’t made it are thinking about it. It really it motivates us.”
While Gavrilova, a ball of energy on court, is loving the Open limelight, the bubbly youngster is also happily enjoying her down time during the days.
“I stayed at home and had a pretty normal day,” she said of her preparation for the biggest match of her life against Kvitova.
“I woke up, had a hit in the morning. Then went back, went shopping, came back, had lunch.
“Then I had a nap. Had a great win in the end.”