Ukrainian prodigy Kostyuk likened to Hingis

Published by AAP

Marta Kostyuk celebrates her second-round win over Olivia Rogowska at Australian Open 2018; Getty Images
After reaching the third round of the Australian Open and cracking the world’s top 200, 15-year-old Marta Kostyuk has drawn comparisons with another one-time whizkid in Martina Hingis.

Prodigious Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk is being likened to Swiss tennis legend Martina Hingis and not one but two Fed Cup captains agree.

At just 15, Kostyuk has had a breakout summer after reaching the third round of the Australian Open despite coming into the first Grand Slam of the year as a qualifier.

As she gears up to lead her country in a Fed Cup World Group II tie against Australia this weekend, competing captains Alicia Molik (Australia) and Mikhail Filima say the Hingis comparison is spot on.

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Kostyuk became the youngest player since the five-time major singles champion in 1996 to reach the third round of the Australian Open.

“(Hingis) was very young but tennis is different now and players can play until they are well into their 30s,” Filima said.

“It’s unbelievable the results she’s had (in Australia) and I hope she can have a very good future.”

Despite being ranked 185 in the world, Kostyuk incredibly enters the Canberra Tennis Centre tie as Ukraine’s highest-ranked singles player available.

Molik said her team had kept an eye on her with Ukraine without world No.3 Elina Svitolina, Lesia Tsurenko (No.40) and Kateryna Kozlova (No.65).

Ukraine’s other squad members are Lyudmyla Kichenok (No.883) and the unranked Nadiia Kichenok and 14-year-old Dasha Lopatetskaya.

“She’s (Kostyuk) an impressive young girl, plays a really mature game and that’s why she’s come onto the scene quite quickly,” Molik said.

“She qualified for the Australian Open and that takes a lot of maturity, so she’ll be one of their best players on the weekend.”

Australia also boasts an exciting teenager in its squad and Molik says Destanee Aiava and Kostyuk could build a fierce rivalry during the next decade.

However the pair are unlikely to face off this time around, with Australia’s two top-ranked players Ashleigh Barty and Daria Gavrilova certain play singles.

But Molik said she would not be afraid to call on Aiava if required.

“It would be amazing (if they did play against each),” she said.

“Destnaee is ready to play and that’s why she’s been chosen because I truly believe she’s playing at a level where she can step in.

“Marta is a couple of years younger … but they should be keeping a close on each other and down the track they will be running into each other pretty regularly.

“I think they’re two of the brightest prospects out there.”

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