Elena Rybakina earned a big victory over WTA ranking leader Iga Swiatek in Australian Open's Round of 16. The match-up between reigning Wimbledon champion and current US Open and Roland Garros titles holder was an absolute highlight of first week in women's tournament. Both players approached to this contest without losing a set so far, but it was Rybakina who had much more challenging route to this stage, defeating last year's finalist Danielle Collins in Thursday's Round 3.
Rybakina was considered as a difficult opponent for Swiatek, but still it was the Pole who had an average odd 1.24 being a favorite before the start. It not materialized though, as Rybakina played really well since the opening games, serving pretty well and overpowering Swiatek with multiple winners. The Kazakh broke in opening game, but world number one leveled the score in 4th game. Third and last break of the opening set was gained in game 7 by Rybakina, who did not give away her advantage till the end of set winning it 6-4. Swiatek started to making up the game from the start of second set, breaking Rybakina in second game. That was the end of Swiatek's good performance though, while Rybakina was a dominant player till the end, breaking her opponent twice and not giving any chances on own serve. 6-4 6-4 and the upset came through for Swiatek, who needs to wait another year to collect Australian Open's title to the tally of her Grand Slam victories.
Another upset was delivered by the match Jelena Ostapenko and Cori Gauff. The American, seeded with #7, was the favorite of contest against Roland Garros 2017 champion. The Latvian proved being in really good form though, losing just one own service game in the first set and being on the front foot till the end of the match, where she made 30 winners in general. Surprisingly, Ostapenko was much more consistent on serve today, having 65% first serve accuracy to just 50% of Gauff, scoring 80% of first serve points. The Latvian was clinical, converting all of her 3 breakpoints, while Gauff produced 5 more, but did not utilize any of them starting from third game of the match, when she earned her only one break today. Ostapenko will face Rybakina in her first hard-court Grand Slam quarterfinal, which will set up another interesting match-up between hard hitting players, who both already tasted the GS victory in their careers.
Jessica Pegula and Victoria Azarenka will setup another quality quarterfinal. The American, world number 3, was facing Barbora Krejcikova in an exciting matchup between players who showed a greaf form in preceeding rounds. Pegula was the favorite and fulfilled her task, winning it 7-5 6-2. She faced her only trouble after not securing her first set win in 10th game during own service game. It was the only one break faced by Pegula, who dominated second set and advanced to QF in a confident style.
Azarenka started her match against Lin Zhu on Rod Laver Arena pretty late, after male's five-setter between Tsitsipas and Sinner. The match ended up at 2 am, while it was an exciting three setter, 2:42 hours long. The sensational Chinese won the first set 6-4, but double AO champion dominated second set, moving the match to a distance. Third set brought many breaks, but it was Azarenka who secured the win at the end.