The World No.1 made a shock exit in the third round at the hands of teenager Linda Noskova.
Iga Swiatak made the earliest exit from a women’s top seed at the Australian Open in 45 years on Saturday night, as Czech teenager Linda Noskova shocked the tennis world. Swiatek took the first set comfortably against World No.50 Noskova and appeared to be coasting towards a 19th-consecutive win and a berth in the fourth round at Melbourne Park.
But the 19-year-old Czech – making her main-draw debut no less – produced an incredible fightback to knock out the World No.1 in a 3-6 6-3 6-4 boilover on Rod Laver Arena. It marks the earliest a women’s No.1 seed has been knocked out of the Australian Open since Virginia Ruzici lost in the first round in 1979.
As for Noskova, she is the lowest-ranked woman to beat the No.1 seed at the Australian Open since Serena Williams (World No.81 at the time) beat Maria Sharapova in the final in 2007. The Czech is also the first teenager to knock off the World No.1 at an Aussie Open since Amelie Mauresmo beat Lindsay Davenport in 1999.
The 22-year-old Swiatek has three French Open titles and one at the US Open but has never made it past the semi-finals at Melbourne Park. She was knocked out in the fourth round last year and admitted she struggles with the speed of the surface.
“Well, surface is quicker. That’s all I would say,” she said in her press conference. “I felt like I had everything under control until she broke me in the second set.
“I had a couple of chances to break her in the second set and I didn’t use them. So that’s a shame. But when she broke me, she was kind of proactive. I wanted to do that as well later in the next games. Sometimes, I was rushing it. I just wasn’t playing kind of with my intuition and naturally. I guess I’ll have to work on stuff to feel more comfortable next year.”
Noskova will play 19th seed Elina Svitolina in the fourth round, after the Ukrainian beat Viktorija Golubic 6-2 6-3 later on Saturday night. “I’m speechless,” Noskova said on court. “I knew it was going to be an amazing match, with the World No.1, such a player, but I didn’t think that it would end up like this.”
Swiatek’s early exit presents a golden opportunity for Svitolina and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, who are both on Swiatek’s side of the draw. Azarenka earlier beat Jelena Ostapenko 6-1 7-5. On the opposite side of the draw are defending champion Aryna Sabalenka and World No.4 Coco Gauff.