Tennis: Świątek, Hurkacz eliminated from Australian Open

Photo: Robert Prange/Getty Images

In a fourth-round showdown between two of last year’s Grand Slam champions, number 22 seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan upset World number one Iga Świątek of Poland 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and a half to make her first Australian Open quarterfinal.

Oddly enough Świątek became the first Polish woman to be knocked out of the Australian Open in 2023.

Świątek had faced much lower-ranked opponents in her first three matches at this year's Australian Open, the bar, however, was notably higher in the quarter finals against Jelena Rybakina, winner of last year's Wimbledon.

The opening set of Saturday's match was very evenly matched, but key to Rybakina gaining the upper hand winning 79 percent of her first-service points in the first set, well ahead of the Poles 63 percent success rate.

Świątek looked to be on course to pull level after a storming start to the second set, when she took a 3-0 lead. However, Rybakina recovered and won six of the next seven games. In that second set, she had 11 winners to nine unforced errors; Swiatek, on the other hand, had six winners to eight unforced errors.

Hurkacz in another thriller

Polish men’s number one Hubert Hurkacz was also eliminated in the fourth round. The Pole lost to Sebastian Korda 2:3 (6:3, 3:6, 2:6, 6:1, 6:7).

The World number 10 has become synonymous with thrillers this year in Melbourne. His two previous matches ended with 3:2 victories.

Against Korda he made a storming start, serving brilliantly, playing aggressively and making few unforced errors to take the opening set.

The pendulum swung to and fro after the opener as Korda took the next two sets. The Czech player prevailed in the end taking the decider in a dramatic tie breaker.

Last remaining Pole

Despite the exits of Poland’s top male and female players, one Polish competitor remains - Magda Linette will face France’s Caroline Garcia tomorrow for a place in the quarter finals.