Unexpected Battle Of Sexes: 16-Year-Old Andreeva Takes On ATP Player At French Tournament

Unexpected Battle Of Sexes: 16-Year-Old Andreeva Takes On ATP Player At French Tournament

by Erik Virostko

Mirra Andreeva unexpectedly found herself in the "Battle of Sexes" match at the 2023 Négométal Open de Bourg-de-Péage.

In 1970s, the term "Battle of the Sexes" was very popular, when Bobby Riggs took on Margaret Court, who he beat 6-2, 6-1, before losing to Billie Jean King 4-6, 3-6, 3-6.

In 1992, Jimmy Connors and Martina Navratilova played in another Battle of the Sexes, with Connors winning the match 7-5, 6-2, and since then, fans were waiting for another match between a player competing on the WTA Tour and the ATP Tour.

And now, on December 17th, 2023, it happened. 16-year-old teenage prodigy, Mirra Andreeva, is competing at the off-season tournament in France, 2023 Négométal Open de Bourg-de-Péage at Complexe Vercors in Bourg-de-Péage, France.

In her first match, she thrashed Varvara Gracheva in two sets and in the final of the exhibition tournament, she was supposed to take on Donna Vekic. However, she withdrew and was replaced by Marta Kostyuk from Ukraine.

Yet, the Ukrainian refused to compete against Andreeva from Russia, so the tournament organizers had to find a solution, and they didn't have much time to do that, with fans expecting a match on Sunday at 12:30 pm local time.

Unable to find another WTA player, they opted for an interesting solution, as they invited a player from their home club Peageois, world no. 1145, Yanis Ghazouani Durand. The only problem? He's world no. 1145 on the ATP Tour, not the WTA Tour.

It was an unexpected Battle of the Sexes, as Andreeva probably didn't think she'll play against a man at the event, but she opted to face the challenge.

Ghazouani Durand is the world no. 1145 on the ATP Tour, with his career-high being 1129th place in the ATP Rankings. He's also world no. 74 on the ITF Tour, with career-high 67th place.


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