Tennis: Top seed Swiatek dumped out of Australian Open in third round

AFP , Saturday 20 Jan 2024

World number one Iga Swiatek's 18-match winning run came to a shuddering halt at the Australian Open on Saturday when she was dumped out in the third round by unseeded Czech teen Linda Noskova.

Noskova
Linda Noskova (left) sent Iga Swiatek crashing out of the Australian Open at the third-round stage. Photo: AFP

 

The Polish top seed appeared en route to the last 16 after taking the first set but lost her way, going down 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and 20 minutes to the world number 50.

Just three of the top 10 women's seeds remain in the draw in Melbourne at the end of the first week.

"I'm speechless," said Noskova, who is at her first Australian Open. "I knew it was going to be an amazing match, but I didn't really think it would end up like this.

"I'm just really glad to get through."

Swiatek, 22, who produced a stunning second-round comeback to beat former finalist Danielle Collins, broke in the sixth game and went on to take the first set in 43 minutes.

Both women faced pressure on their serves in a tight second set and fended off break points until the eighth game, when Noskova broke to love to lead 5-3 before serving out.

Swiatek cracked in the third game of the decider, putting herself in deep trouble, but she hit back immediately after speaking with her coaching team on court.

But she came under pressure on her serve again, saving another break point to edge ahead 3-2.

That proved a temporary stay of execution as she netted with a forehand in the seventh game to give Noskova another break for a 4-3 lead and she held serve for 5-3.

Swiatek held her own serve and then won the first two points as Noskova served for the match. But the Czech player kept her head, producing an ace to set up match point and sealing the deal.

Noskova will face either Ukrainian 19th seed Elina Svitolina or Switzerland's Viktorija Golubic next.

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