|Place: Melbourne Park Dates: January 16-29|
|coverage: Commentary every day from 07:00 BST on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra ‘Tennis Breakfast’ live from Melbourne, with selected live text commentary and match reports on the BBC Sport website and app|
Top seed Iga Swiatek will miss the Australian Open after losing to Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the fourth round.
Rybakina, ranked 22nd, has struggled to replicate the performances that saw her win at the All England Club in July.
Against Swiatek, however, the Kazakh once again showed how she thrives on the big stage, playing with confidence and power in the 6-4 6-4 win at Melbourne Park.
Less than half an hour later, Coco Gauff was down by a score of 7-5, 6-3 Yelena Ostapenko.
The seventh-seeded American, 18, was among the favorites to win the title, but he beat the seventeenth-seeded Latvian.
Rybakina, 23, will play former French Open champion Ostapenko in the quarter-finals instead of the match between Swatek and Gauff that many expected.
“I get nervous every time I’m on the court but I try to be calm,” Rybakina said. “It’s a big win and I’m glad to be in for another round.”
The third workbook Jessica PegulaThe highest-ranked player in the women’s draw came 7-5 6-2 over Czech Barbora Kreczkova.
She will face American Victoria Azarenka, twice champion in Melbourne, in the quarter-finals, after Azarenka defeated Chinese Zhou Lin 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Swiatek “wanted it so much”
Poland’s Swiatek rose to the top of the world rankings last year after the retirement of Australian Ashleigh Barty, winning the French Open and US Open titles as she dominated the WTA tournament.
She reached the semifinals in Melbourne last year and, after a stellar 2022, is back with the goal of being the first woman since Serena Williams in 2015 to claim three major titles.
“I felt like I took a step backwards in terms of the way I approach these tournaments and maybe I wish it were a little tough,” she said.
“So I’m going to try to relax a bit more.”
Rybakina’s success has been more sporadic. Between claiming tennis’ most prestigious title and starting this year’s Australian Open, she’s only won 14 of her 24 matches and has spoken out about the lack of recognition she feels she’s been given.
She also struggled with difficult draws, with her world ranking coming in lower than expected after that Not receiving any points For her victory at Wimbledon.
But she made another impressive statement at Melbourne Park, reaching the last eight for the first time with a dominant victory over Swatik.
The pair traded breaks early in the opening set before a double fault from Swiatek at 3-3 gave Rybakina another chance, which she took advantage of with a huge cross-court backhand win.
Confident holding on to love sealed the one-set advantage, but Swiatek improved early in the second set and moved into a 3-0 lead.
Rybakina fought back quickly and leveled at 3-3 as Swiatek struggled to deal with her massive serve.
She dropped just six points on her first serve of the match and scored an impressive performance to secure victory after breaking 5-4.
Rybakina says she is no longer “upset” about not getting ranking points at Wimbledon, but improving her world standings is a source of motivation in Melbourne.
“Sure, that’s motivation, but like I said before, I want to win every tournament, and no matter the points, there are no points,” she said.
“I love competition, no matter where I play. Right now, I’d say I don’t really look at this stuff.”
Ostapenko never doubted that she could win in another discipline
Ostapenko became a French Open teen champion nearly six years ago, but the lack of deep runs since then has many shrugging off her as one of the wonders of success.
However, against Gauff she showed strong striking and aggressiveness which led her to the Roland Garros title in 2017.
Ostapenko scored 30 winners when she broke Gauff’s serve three times and also saved seven of the American’s eight break opportunities.
Although it’s the first time since Wimbledon in 2018 that Ostapenko has reached a major quarter-final, the 25-year-old says she “honestly didn’t really doubt” she could win again.
“My life has changed a lot, so I needed a few years to really get used to what happened because I was really young,” said Ostapenko, who has never made it past turn three at Melbourne Park.
“I always knew and believed in my game. If I play well I can beat almost anyone.
“I’ve been trying to work more on my consistency, especially in the pre-season, just to get on the field and play my game.”
Gauff had not dropped a set in her previous three matches, including a second-round win over British top seed Emma Raducano.
The young prodigy, who lost to Swatik in the French Open final last year, got emotional during her press conference as her wait for a major prize continues.
“I think every loss is more or less under my control because I feel like I’m a good player, but today she played better,” Gauff said.
“There were moments in the match where I was frustrated because I can usually work it out, but I feel like I didn’t have much of an answer for what she was doing.
“There were a few things I could have improved on, but overall I think she deserved to win.”