After falling to Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina in the fourth round, top seed Iga Swiatek was eliminated from the Australian Open.
Rybakina, who was seeded 22nd, had difficulty repeating the performances that helped her win at the All England Club in July.
But in a 6-4 6-4 victory at Melbourne Park over Swiatek, the Kazakh demonstrated once more how she shines on a big stage.
Gauff, an 18-year-old American and the seventh seed, was one of the favorites to win the match but was defeated by the Latvian 17th seed.
In the quarterfinals, Rybakina, 23, will take on former French Open winner Ostapenko rather than Swiatek and Gauff as many had anticipated.
“Every time I play on the court, I get anxious, but I try to remain composed. I’m glad to be in another round after such a significant victory “said Rybakina.
The highest-ranked female player still playing in the women’s draw, third seed Jessica Pegula, defeated Czech Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 6-2.
If Victoria Azarenka defeats Zhu Lin later on Sunday, the American might play the two-time Melbourne Cup champion.
Murray is still giving himself “justice” at Grand Slam events. According to a Gauff piece, “TikTok offers a getaway from tennis.”
Swiatek “wanted it too badly”
Following the retirement of Australia’s Ashleigh Barty, Poland’s Swiatek ascended to the top of the global rankings last year. She later won the French Open and the US Open while dominating the WTA Tour.
After a spectacular 2022, she returned with the goal of being the first woman since Serena Williams in 2015 to hold three of the four major titles. She reached the Melbourne semifinals the previous year.
She admitted, “I felt like I took a step back in terms of how I approach these tournaments and maybe wanted it a little bit too badly.”
I will therefore attempt to unwind a little more.
Success for Rybakina has been more erratic. She won just 14 of her 24 matches between winning the most prestigious tennis championship and the opening of this year’s Australian Open, and she has spoken out about the lack of respect she believes she has received.
Her world ranking is lower than expected after collecting no points for her Wimbledon victory, and she has battled with difficult draws.
At Melbourne Park, though, she made yet another strong impression, making it to the last eight for the first time with a convincing victory over Swiatek.
Early in the first set, the two players traded breaks. At 3-3, Swiatek’s double fault gave Rybakina another opportunity, which she took with a huge cross-court backhand winner.
Swiatek improved at the start of the second set and raced into a 3-0 lead, but the one-set edge was secured by a strong hold to love.
Swiatek was unable to handle Rybakina’s powerful serve, but she swiftly rallied to tie the match at 3-3.
She only gave up six points on her first serve over the course of the game, and after breaking for a 5-4 lead, she recorded a stunning hold to love to seal the deal.
Although Rybakina claims she is no longer “bothered” by not earning ranking points at Wimbledon, she still feels motivated to perform better in Melbourne.
Sure, it motivates me, but as I’ve mentioned before, I want to win every tournament I enter, points or no points.
“I enjoy playing anywhere where there is competition. For the time being, I’d say I don’t give these things much thought.”
Ostapenko “never questioned” she could win another major championship.
Nearly six years ago, Ostapenko won the French Open as a teenager, but because to her lack of subsequent strong performances, many have written her off as a one-hit wonder.
She did, however, demonstrate the forceful striking and aggressiveness that helped her win the Roland Garros title in 2017.
In addition to breaking Gauff’s service three times, Ostapenko blasted 30 winners and turned away seven of the American’s eight break attempts.
Despite reaching a major quarterfinal for the first time since Wimbledon in 2018, Ostapenko, 25, claims she “honestly hasn’t really questioned” she might win another.
Ostapenko, who had never advanced past the third round at Melbourne Park, said, “My life changed a lot, so it took me a few years to fully get acclimated to what occurred because I was so young.
“I’ve always known and trusted in my abilities. I can beat practically anybody if I play well.
I tried to improve my consistency, especially during the preseason, so that I could simply enter the floor and perform my duties.
In her previous three matches, including a victory against British No. 1 Emma Raducanu in the second round, Gauff had not lost a set.
The young prodigy, who fell to Swiatek in the 2017 French Open final, broke down in tears at her press conference as her wait for a major championship drags on.
Gauff stated, “I do feel like I’m a strong player, so I think every loss is partially in my control, but today she simply played better.
“There were times during the match when I was irritated because, even though I can usually handle problems, I felt like I didn’t have many solutions to what she was doing.
“There were a few areas I could have done better, but generally I think she deserved to win,” I said.