MELBOURNE, Australia — World No. 1 Iga Swiatek was upset in the third round of the Australian Open by Czech teenager Linda Noskova, ranked No. 50.
Swiatek appeared to take the first set and secure her place in the fourth round, but the 19-year-old Noskova fought back with steely determination to save a break point and then seal her own set. I made the decision and took the second set.
With pressure mounting on world No. 1 Swiatek (who had won 67 of her previous 68 matches against players outside the top 50), Noskova broke twice in the decider to secure her spot in the second week. did.
Swiatek's loss means only the second time a top-seeded female player has failed to advance to the fourth round of the Australian Open, since Virginia Luzisi was eliminated in the last 32 in 1979. Noskova becomes the first teenager to defeat Swiatek. She is the first WTA major No. 1 since 19-year-old Petra Kvitova defeated Dinara Safina in the third round of the 2009 US Open.
So what was the problem for Swiatek? Here are her three takeaways from her early retirement.
The world No. 1 failed to capitalize on break point opportunities.
In a close second set, the four-time major champion had two chances to break his younger opponent's serve but was unable to capitalize.
With Noskova serving in the fifth game at 2-2, her opponent served wide on her backhand and Swiatek was unable to get it back over the net, allowing Swiatek to convert the break point. There wasn't.
In Noskova's next service game, Swiatek had another break point opportunity on her opponent's second serve, but she hit her backhand into the net. Swiatek was then heartbroken as Noskova won 11 of the next 12 points to take the set.
“I felt like I had everything under control until she broke me in the second set,” Swiatek said.
“I had a few chances to break her in the second set and I didn't take advantage of them. So it's disappointing. But when she broke, she was kind of aggressive.”
Throughout the match, Swiatek had just 2 of 7 break point opportunities (29%) – one in the first set and one in the third after Nowoska had already broken – giving her opponent 3 of 7. I connected it to a book. In the first two games, Swiatek converted more consistently at his 44% and his 47%.
Swiatek faced 'week two challenges' in first two rounds
As the world No. 1 and No. 1 seed in the Grand Slams, one would tend to expect an easy draw in the early rounds. After all, even if everything goes to plan, they aren't expected to play the No. 2 seed until the finals, and aren't expected to play any other higher seeds until well into the second week of the tournament. Not.
But what Swiatek couldn't explain was the luck of the draw. Her winning record at the Australian Open wasn't the best, but Swiatek's first-round match against unseeded 2020 champion Sofia Kenin raised some eyebrows. Many saw a potential upset in the first round, but Swiatek overcame an early challenge from Kenin to win 7-6, 6-2 to advance to the second round and advance to 2022. He will face an unseeded American player who will be participating. She has a close up of Danielle Collins.
Collins also proved challenging. She pushed Swiatek to three sets, with the world No. 1 winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
“It was definitely more stressful than other tournaments, especially in the first two rounds,” Swiatek said after the loss.
“But I think even though I was working the same way, some things didn't work out the way they used to.
“I feel like in preseason I did everything I could to improve what I wanted. Then I came here and I just couldn't play naturally. I don't know, my split step was too slow. It seems like there was one.'' The reaction was a little slow. There are a few others. ”
The future is bright for Czech women's tennis
Nine Czech women players made up the 128 players participating in the 2024 Australian Open Women's Main Tournament. The small European nation has always enjoyed success in world tennis, and it is clear that the next generation will follow in the footsteps of the current stars.
The country has a strong showing of Czech players in major tournaments, including last year's Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrusova, 2021 Roland Garros winner Barbora Krejcikova, and two-time Grand Slam finalist Karolina Pliskova. No stranger to winning, Noskova is one of a number of Czech teenagers who are now starting to make their mark in the big tournaments. Mark at advanced level.
For Noskova, who enters this tournament ranked 50th in the world, this is her first time participating in the main tournament of the Australian Open, and along with her sisters Brenda (16 years old) and Linda Hruvirtova (18 years old), she is looking forward to the future strength of the Czech Republic. Become a representative. Tennis, especially the women's side.
“I know I've grown a lot over the last year and a half, and I just believed in my game tonight,” Noskova said after the win.
“I really wanted this win because I didn't come on the court thinking I had nothing to lose. I took it very seriously. It was just like any other game.”