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.
'NOT DOING ENOUGH': Rod Laver's truth bomb for Alex de Minaur
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 couple of chances to break her in 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 really 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.
Nuno Borges creates incredible 119-year first at Australian Open
There was also a huge upset on the men's side on Saturday night when World No.69 Nuno Borges beat 13th seed Grigor Dimitrov. The Portuguese player had never made it past the second round of a grand slam, but is now the first player from his country to make the fourth round of the Australian Open since it began in 1905. He is just the second Portuguese player in history to reach the second week of a major.
"I'm still processing. I still can't believe it," Borges said after slumping to the ground on the final point. "My reaction at the end was very honest, I wasn't ready to win this match when it started.
"It's big for Portugal. I'm proud to be Portuguese and be here competing in one of the biggest tournaments in the world. I hope I showed the younger kids it is possible, with a little bit of luck, working hard it is possible to achieve just living in the moment."
Borges will face third seed Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round after the Russian dispatched Felix Auger Aliassime 6-3 6-4 6-3. Elsewhere on Friday, fellow big guns Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev advanced in straight sets.
🇨🇿 Unseeded teenager, Linda Noskova, defeats Iga Swiatek
🇵🇹 Nuno Borges becomes the first Portuguese in history to reach the second week of the #AusOpen
𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐀𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐚𝐧 𝐎𝐩𝐞𝐧 𝐀𝐋𝐖𝐀𝐘𝐒 𝐝𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬 👏😮💨 pic.twitter.com/kkCeUS3mKt
— Eurosport (@eurosport) January 20, 2024
SHE ACTUALLY DID IT!!!! Congratulations to Noskova and to Borges as well. They beat two -1600 favorites within minutes of each other. Amazing tournament and amazing sport!!!🎾 #ATP #WTA #Tennis #AusOpen https://t.co/eIsN7eiSOw
— Hance (@SirHanceAlot) January 20, 2024
Miomir Kecmanovic beats Tommy Paul.
Nuno Borges beats Grigor Dimitrov.
Linda Noskova beats Iga Swiatek.
What a crazy Australian Open is going 🤯😮💨#ausopen
— 𝐒𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐚 (@DolanPanja16293) January 20, 2024
I just can’t believe it. It’s something that can’t stay in mind as possible. @iga_swiatek you have the game, how to play extremely well, move very well and hit the ball so strong. What happened at the Rod Laver Arena? Yourself eliminated with many errors 😞🤔
— Jonathan Brocel C. (@JonathBC) January 20, 2024
Swiatek’s exit was definitely the shocking result of the day...
I didn’t see that coming…..#AO24
— KABEER (@kaybudie) January 20, 2024
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