Round of 16: Tsitsipas survives Sinner scare, Rybakina stuns Swiatek

Melbourne, Australia, Jan 22 (EFE).- Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas qualified for the quarterfinals of the Australian Open after defeating Italian Jannik Sinner 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3 in a tough, four-hour battle on Sunday.

The third-seeded Greek opened up a two-set lead against the 21-year-old, but the Italian 15th seed showed why he is tipped to become a future star in the sport by refusing to lie down and leveled the match at 2-2.

In the deciding set, Tsitsipas squandered three break points to seal the tie, but in the seventh game of the frame capitalized on another three opportunities to finally take the win.

Tsitsipas will face Jiri Lehecka in the quarterfinals with the, one of the surprises of the first Grand Slam of the season, after the unseeded Czech defeated Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime in four sets.

Lehecka, who failed to make it past the first round of a major last year, overcame a first set deficit to see off the sixth-seed Aliassime 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3) in three hours and 14 minutes

On the other side of the draw, the 29th seeded Sebastian Korda of the US defeated Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz (10th seed) in five sets to set up a date with Karen Khachanov (18), after the Russian dismissed Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka (31).

Korda registered the biggest win of his career against the 10th seed after taking a tight, back-and-forth duel 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (7).

Korda is the third American to qualify for the quarters in Melbourne after Andy Roddick advanced past the round of 16 in 2010

His next opponent, Khachanov, made light work of Japan’s Nishioka 6-0, 6-0, 7-6(4), thanks to his dominant serve that saw him win 93% of his service points.

In the women’s draw, meanwhile, top seed Iga Swiatek was eliminated by Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina (22nd seed), who surprised the Pole in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 to qualify for the last eight.

Reigning Wimbledon champion Rybakina’s victories against American Danielle Collins (13) and now Swiatek have placed her as one of the favorites to take the title in Melbourne.

The Kazakh player will next meet Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko (17th seed), who added another upset at Melbourne Park on Sunday after beating US Coco Gauff (7) 7-5, 6-3 in the round of 16.

Gauff only managed a 50% first serve rate, and was punished by the aggressiveness of Ostapenko who notched 30 winners and won 80% of the points on her first serve.

Third-seeded American Jessica Pegula, the highest-ranked player left in the competition after Swiatek was knocked out, easily defeated Czech Barbora Krejcikov (seeded 20th) 7-5, 6-2.

It is the third consecutive year that the American, daughter of tycoon Terrence Pegula, has reached the quarterfinals in Melbourne, where she made her name in 2021 when she reached the last 8 as an unseeded player.

The match was tilted decisively in the Buffalo native’s favor after she converted her fifth break opportunity to establish a 6-5 first set lead that the Czech could not come back from.

Her next opponent will be the winner of the match between Belarusian Viktoria Azarenka (24) and China’s Zhu Lin. EFE


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