Instead of a quarterfinal between Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff that many predicted, we’ll have a meeting between Elena Rybakina and Jelena Ostapenko in the final eight of the 2023 Australian Open.
Reigning Wimbledon champion Rybakina, who is ranked lower than she should be after receiving no ranking points for her triumph in London, dispatched top seed Swiatek 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 29 minutes. Between winning The Championships and entering this year’s Australian Open, Rybakina won just 14 of her 24 matches, but on Sunday in Melbourne she once again showed that she gets a boost on big stages and progressed to the quarterfinals here for the first time.
The 22nd-seeded Rybakina opened the match with a break, and even though Swiatek won three games in a row for a 3-2 lead, the representative of Kazakhstan took a crucial break with a cross-court backhand winner in the seventh game and soon afterwards sealed the set with a confident hold to love.
Once again Swiatek managed to win three consecutive games, this time to start the second set with a 3-0 lead, but Rybakina completely recovered and registered an impressive love hold to consolidate after breaking for 5-4. In the entire match, the world No.25 Rybakina lost just six points on her first serve.
Rybakina’s quarterfinal opponent will be seed No.17 and 2017 Roland Garros champion Ostapenko, who overpowered seventh seed Coco Gauff 7-5 6-3 in Margaret Court Arena. The crucial factor in Ostapenko’s victory was that she converted all three of her break point opportunities, while Gauff went 1-for-8.
Ostapenko leads Rybakina 2-0 in their career meetings, having defeated her in straight sets at Linz 2019 and Eastbourne 2021.