World No 1 Iga Swiatek was knocked out of the Australian Open by Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, while Coco Gauff suffered a defeat to the resurgent Jelena Ostapenko.
Rybakina put on a big stage performance on Rod Laver Arena, winning 6-4 6-4 to meet former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, who helped her win 7-5 6-3 before seventh seed Coco Gauff .
“Definitely the past two weeks have been quite difficult for me,” says Swiatek.
“So today I feel that I don’t have much more to fight for. I feel like I’ve taken a step back in terms of how I approach these tournaments and I’ve probably wanted that to be a bit tough. So I’ll try to relax a little bit more.
“I feel pressured and I feel that I don’t want to lose instead of want to win. So I think that’s the basis for what I should focus on for the next few weeks.”
Rybakina dropped just six points on her first serve of the game and pulled back 3-0 against a frustrated Swiatek.
The Russian-Kazakhstan tennis player said: “It was a really difficult match. I really respect Iga. She is a young player and I think she played very well. Today I think I served. good. In the key moments, I played really well so it made the difference.”
While it was a huge shock, Swiatek is not as dominant on hard courts as she is on clay, and although she has said here that she doesn’t expect to win every game, the Pole clearly feels find it difficult to moderate those expectations.
This is a meeting between the only two currently active female Grand Slam champions, and Rybakina got off to the perfect start by breaking the service of French and US Open winner Swiatek 40-0. .
Expansion in Melbourne?
With Elena Rybakina defeating No. 1 seed Iga Swiatek, this year’s Australian Open will be the first Grand Slam in the Open Era where the top two seeds in both the men’s and women’s singles have lost to each other. quarter-finals.
Swiatek, who received a pre-start warning for taking too long to get ready, equalized 2-2 but Rybakina’s fairer strike paid off on a sunny day. warm in Melbourne and she took a 4-3 lead again and won the opening set.
The Polish looked like she was going to come back as she broke Rybakina’s serve in the second set of the second set but was seeded 22.
Swiatek was never comfortable and she couldn’t handle the pressure in game nine, with Rybakina breaking serve and then serving in the match to reach the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park for the first time.
“Usually, when I come back from going down, I can keep that momentum,” says Swiatek. “I lost it today. Surely she forced it too, so congratulations to her.
“I think it will motivate me, and I am pretty sure I will play in the next tournaments with something to focus on, something to work on and I think I will move on. I think it’s okay.”
Ostapenko stuns Gauff tearfully
Unexpectedly winning the French Open in 2017 at the age of 20, Ostapenko has struggled in recent years but last season saw her rise back up and make it past this stage of a tournament for the first time. major competition since reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2018.
Ostapenko simply had too much power for Gauff, who was one of the best defenders on the tour but couldn’t make the big first serve as often as she needed and it cost her.
The Latvian made the crowd laugh with her answer to the question of whether she trusts the automated calling system used at Melbourne Park.
“Honestly? No,” Ostapenko said. “Honestly, this live avionics, sometimes it feels like it’s making mistakes. I look at my team because I know I’m wrong sometimes, but I feel some of the balls are pretty close.”
It was the 18-year-old’s first defeat of the season after the championship in Auckland and Gauff, who is still playing doubles, shed tears of frustration during her press conference.
“I think it’s because I worked so hard, and I feel so good going into the tournament, and I still feel good,” she said. “I feel like I’ve improved a lot. But when you’re up against a player like her and she’s playing really well, there’s nothing you can do.”