Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina upsets Iga Swiatek in Melbourne – ‘It’s a big win’

Elena Rybakina celebrations Credit: Alamy
Elena Rybakina celebrations Credit: Alamy

World No 1 Iga Swiatek was dumped out of the Australian Open in the fourth round by Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.

The Russian-turned-Kazakh has spoken of her frustration at not being scheduled on the main courts since her success at the All England Club and, on Rod Laver Arena, she produced a big-stage performance, winning 6-4, 6-4.

Rybakina dropped only six points on her first serve during the match and recovered from 3-0 down against a frustrated Swiatek.

“It was a really tough match,” Rybakina said. “I really respect Iga because of the streak she’s had and her Grand Slams. She is a young player and I think she plays really well.

“I saw she was struggling a bit on one side but in the important moments I played really well so it made the difference.

“I am nervous every time I go on the court like everybody, but I’m calm always. At least I’m trying not to show so much emotions.

“My coach is saying that I actually need to show them sometimes. I’m also learning but for sure I’m nervous, but it’s a big win and I’m happy to get to another round.”

Although it is a big shock, Swiatek is not as dominant on hard courts as she is on clay and, although she has talked here of not expecting herself to win every match, it is clear the Pole finds it difficult to temper those expectations.

This was a meeting between the only two current active female grand slam champions, and Rybakina made the perfect start by breaking French and US Open winner Swiatek’s serve from 40-0.

Swiatek, who had received a warning before the start for taking too long to be ready to play, pulled back to 2-2 but the flatter hitting of Rybakina was paying dividends on a warm, sunny day in Melbourne and she forged ahead again to lead 4-3 and took the opening set.

Swiatek looked set to mount a comeback when she broke the Rybakina serve in the second game of the second but back came the 22nd seed.

Swiatek had never quite looked comfortable and she was unable to withstand the pressure in the ninth game, with Rybakina breaking and then serving out the match to love to reach the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park for the first time.

Rybakina will face former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the last eight after the Latvian caused an upset of a her own as she defeated seventh seed Coco Gauff 7-5, 6-3.

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