No. 1 Iga Swiatek, No. 7 Coco Gauff after the upsets; Jessica Pegula steps forward
Day seven of the 2023 Australian Open was a bracket party. Many high seeds have fallen, but none is more surprising than Iga Swiatek’s No. 1.
Swiatek spent most of 2022 at the top, but was unable to secure a ticket to the quarterfinals against Elena Rybakina, the 22nd seed. Rybakina beat Swiatek 6-4, 6-4 in 89 minutes. She has beaten the world’s No. 1 tennis player, with 6 sweepstakes and 24 total winners, nine times more than Swiatek.
Rybakina may be ranked 22nd, but she’s far more dangerous than the number indicates. She beat Ons Jabeur to win Wimbledon in 2022, but due to the lack of certain ranking points, the win did not affect her ranking. She has now reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for the first time. And unlike last year’s Wimbledon, this time the points matter.
Other disturbances noted
It was a bad day for Coco Jovethe No. 7 seed. She defeated 17th seed Jelena Ostapenko 7-5, 6-3, and was in tears as she spoke to the media after the match, frustrated with her performance.
No. 6 Felix Auger-Aliassime lost in four sets to unseeded Czech player, Jiri Liska.
No. 10 Hubert Hurkacz went five full sets against No. 29 Sebastian Korda, but lost the final-set tiebreaker by three points.
How did the Americans do?
As you saw in the previous section, it wasn’t a great day for Gauff. But the decks were cleared for Jessica Pegula, the tournament’s highest-ranked American (and woman) to swing her way to her maiden Grand Slam title. The No. 3 seed defeated No. 20 seed Barbora Krejkova 7-5, 6-2 in 101 minutes, and she wouldn’t be content with anything less than the finals.
One American remaining in the seed is No. 29 Sebastian Korda. He pulled off a huge upset on Sunday, defeating No. 10 Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(7) in a match. It ended with a final set 10-point tiebreaker. . The 22-year-old Korda took the win and is in his first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 15 Yannick Sinner played five sets over the course of four hours, and when the dust settled, Tsitsipas prevailed, defeating Sinner 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3.
No. 18 seed Karen Khachanov beat No. 31 Yoshihito Nishioka solidly, 6-0, 6-0, 7-6(4) in less than two hours.
The magical run of Zhu Lin, the unseeded player who defeated No. 6 Maria Sakkari, ended at the hands of No. 24 seed Victoria Azarenka. Azarenka won 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, reaching the quarterfinals for the first time since 2016.
Highlight of the day
Couples are not getting the love they should. It produces mind-bending volleys that showcase the dual sharp reflexes that players have to have in order to play well with a partner. This is one of those airballs.
What to watch on the eighth day
The winners of Day 8 will advance to the quarter-finals, so we’re getting close to the “all balls” point in the tournament.
No. 4 Novak Djokovic will play Australian No. 22 Alex de Minaur.
She will face fourth seed Caroline Garcia, who has already had the best Grand Slam showing of her career with her fourth-round appearance.
No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka will play No. 12 Belinda Bencic.
No. 5 Andrei Rublev faces No. 9 Holger Rohn.
Three Americans will play on Monday, but two of them will face each other.
Youngster Ben Chilton, playing in his first Australian Open, will take on JJ Wolfe to see which of them makes it to the Grand Slam quarter-finals.
Tommy Paul will play No. 24 Roberto Bautista Agut.