Iga Swiatek: I felt the pressure



Top seed Iga Swiatek and a tearful Coco Gauff both crashed out in straight sets in the Last 16 on Sunday on another day of shocks at the Australian Open. Swiatek’s defeat to Elena Rybakina makes it the first Grand Slam in the Open era—since 1968—to lose the top two seeds in the men’s and women’s draws before the quarter-finals.

Pegula advances

There was no such trouble for Jessica Pegula, however, the American third seed surging into the last eight with a 7-5, 6-2 win over former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova. Wimbledon champion Rybakina swept past the 2022 French and US Open winner Swiatek 6-4, 6-4 in 1hr 29min at a stunned Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. 

Elena Rybakina

Moscow-born Kazakh Rybakina, seeded 22, moves on to a last-eight encounter with Jelena Ostapenko. The Latvian 17th seed provided the second upset of a crazy few minutes by knocking out seventh seed Gauff 7-5, 6-3 on neighbouring Margaret Court Arena. 

Also read: No.1 Iga Swiatek crushes qualifier Cristina Bucsa 6-0, 6-1

Gauff, 18, broke down in tears during an emotional post-match press conference. World number one and hot favourite Swiatek admitted that Rybakina deserved to win. “I felt the pressure,” Swiatek, 21, said. “I felt that I didn’t want to lose instead of wanting to win.” Swiatek, who dominated women’s tennis last year and is already a three-time major champion, added: “I felt today that I don’t have that much left to fight even more. “I felt like I took a step back in terms of how I approach these tournaments, and I maybe wanted it a little bit too hard. So I’m going to try to chill out a little bit more.” 

Coco Gauff 

Jiri stuns Felix

Unseeded Jiri Lehecka added to the list by beating sixth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime. The 21-year-old Czech was knocked out in the first round at the four majors last year but was too hot for the Canadian, winning 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/3). Karen Khachanov also reached the Last eight after the Russian 18th seed blew away Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-0, 6-0, 7-6 (7/4).

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