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Iga Swiatek loses to Elena Rybakina


MELBOURNE, Australia — There will not be a showdown between Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff at the Australian Open. Instead, it will be the players who beat them Sunday — reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina and 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko — who face off for a semifinal berth.

Rybakina eliminated No. 1-seeded Iga Swiatek, 6-4, 6-4, in Rod Laver Arena, while Ostapenko got past No. 7 Gauff, 7-5, 6-3, next door in Margaret Court Arena.

Both the 22nd-seeded Rybakina, a 23-year-old who represents Kazakhstan, and the 17th-seeded Ostapenko, a 25-year-old from Latvia, earned spots in the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park for the first time.

“I played well in the important moments,” said Rybakina, who used her big serve to unsettle Swiatek and got the better of their baseline exchanges. “Of course I’m nervous every time I go on the court, I think like everybody. But I’m calm, always. At least I’m trying not to show too much emotions. My coach says I actually need to show sometimes, so I’m also learning.”

Swiatek is a three-time major champion, including titles at the French Open and U.S. Open last season. She beat Gauff, an 18-year-old American, in the final at Roland Garros last June.

Coco Gauff suffered a 7-5, 6-3 loss to Jelena Ostapenko in the fourth round of the Australian Open.
Coco Gauff suffered a 7-5, 6-3 loss to Jelena Ostapenko in the fourth round of the Australian Open.
AFP via Getty Images

Until Sunday, they both had looked fairly dominant in this event, winning every set they contested, with Swiatek dropping a total of just 15 games and Gauff just 19 through three matches.

One key to Ostapenko vs. Gauff: Ostapenko went 3-for-3 converting her break chances, and Gauff was just 1-for-8 in such situations.

Rybakina and Swiatek shake hands after Sunday's fourth-round match inside Rod Laver Arena.
Rybakina and Swiatek shake hands after Sunday’s fourth-round match inside Rod Laver Arena.
Getty Images

Rybakina’s ranking of No. 25 does not properly reflect her ability or results because her championship at the All England Club in July did not come with any ranking points. The WTA and ATP tours withheld all points at Wimbledon in 2022 after the All England Club barred players from Russia and Belarus from participating because of the invasion of Ukraine.

Rybakina hit six aces and compiled a 24-15 edge in winners against the 21-year-old from Poland, who was a semifinalist a year ago in Australia. That followed Rybakina’s victory over 2022 runner-up Danielle Collins in the third round.


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