Second seed Karolina Pliskova and fifth seed Elina Svitolina are the biggest casualties among multiple seeds that lost in the third round of the Australian Open on Day 6.
Karolina Pliskova arrived in Melbourne on a high, having won the Brisbane International title, but seed No.30 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia played a solid match to record a 7-6(4) 7-6(3) win in the third round at Melbourne Park and beat the former world No.1 Czech for the first time in seven tries. The 28-year-old Pavlyuchenkova, who had previously won just one set against Pliskova, withstood her opponent’s pressure and hit 51 winners to 43 unforced errors.
In the fourth round, Pavlyuchenkova will face seed No.17 Angelique Kerber, who advanced with a 6-2 6-7(4) 6-3 victory over Italian Camila Giorgi.
Two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza showed vintage form in a 67-minute victory over Elina Svitolina 6-1 6-2, hitting 31 winners to just nine unforced errors. In the first set, the unseeded Muguruza conceded just 12 points. The Spaniard’s next opponent will be ninth seed Kiki Bertens, who’s made the second week of the Australian Open for the first time after beating Zarina Diyas 6-2 7-6(3).
Another prominent player to fall on Saturday was sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic, as 28th seed Anett Kontaveit thrashed her in just 49 minutes, 6-0 6-1, never facing a break point and striking 21 winners to just seven unforced errors. The Estonian’s next obstacle will be eighteen-year-old sensation Iga Swiatek, as the Pole upset seed No.19 Donna Vekic 7-5 6-3 to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the second time in her career, having also achieved the feat at the 2019 French Open. Swiatek is playing her first tournament since the US Open due to a stress fracture in her right foot.
Among favorites staying afloat is fourth seed Simona Halep, who produced an impressive display to beat Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva 6-1 6-4, breaking all of her opponent’s service games in the opening set before handling a tougher task in the second set. The Romanian’s fourth-round opponent will be 16th seed Elise Mertens, who stopped the awe-inspiring comeback of American Catherine Bellis 6-1 6-7(5) 6-0.