It was another day of drama at the Australian Open on Monday, as Dayana Yastremska emulated a 25-year-old feat from Jelena Dokic, and Elina Svitolina was forced to retire hurt in devastating scenes. On the men's side, big guns Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev all advanced to the quarter-finals.
But the drama played out in the women's fourth-round matches, with Ukrainian qualifier Yastremska taking down two-time Australian Open champ Victoria Azarenka. Yastremska beat an out-of-sorts Azarenka 7-6 (8-6) 6-4, continuing a giant-killing run after her win over Wimbledon champ Marketa Vondrousova in the first round.
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It made her the first qualifier since Jelena Dokic in 1999 to beat two grand slam champions at the same major tournament. Aussie great Dokic famously beat Martina Hingis and Mary Pierce at Wimbledon 25 years ago, making her the first qualifier in the Open era to achieve the feat.
"It feels like my heart is going to jump out of my body," Yastremska said after emulating Dokic. "I was losing the tie-break, I was losing the second set, I always felt like I was running behind the train. But I think I'm a little bit of a fighter, so that's why I won this match."
Elina Svitolina retirement leaves tennis fans heartbroken
The 23-year-old will now play Linda Noskova in the quarters, after the Czech player advanced when Svitolina retired hurt just three games into her match. The 29-year-old Svitolina had been dreaming of breaking through for her first grand slam title, but was left in floods of tears as she pulled the pin due to debilitating back spasms.
"I've had some injuries to my back before where it just was tiredness the next day of the match, but this one was really out of nowhere," a devastated Svitolina said in her press conference. "I felt like someone shot me in the back.
"But hopefully I will be back training in maybe one week. Of course, the long flight I had to Australia, that's not going to help. I will have to take one day at a time, have to do my recovery, do the scan as soon as I get back home, and go from there. Hopefully I don't have something serious."
Later on Monday night, Chinese 12th seed Qinwen Zheng advanced to the second grand slam quarter-final of her career, demolishing Oceane Dodin of France 6-0 6-3. She will face Anna Kalinskaya in the last eight after the Russian beat Jasmine Paolini of Italy 6-4 6-2. Fans were left shattered for Svitolina, who took a year-long break for the birth of her daughter Skai in 2022 and had reached at least the round of 16 in three of the four majors she played since returning.
Svitolina retires down 0-3* in the first set against Noskova with a back injury. Horrendous to see.
This top half of the Women's Draw is *all over the place*.
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 22, 2024
@ElinaSvitolina so sad to see it, wish you a speedy recovery, and I know you’ll come back stronger
— Nikita Korbut (@nikorbutUA) January 22, 2024
Hate to see it.
— PDK crypto (@crypto_pdk) January 22, 2024
I know I am late but I'm so sad for Svitolina, she gets so unlucky every time there's an oppurtinity for her to reach a GS final 💔
— Matilda (@matildaax18) January 22, 2024
That was horrible. Svitolina deserves so much better 😥 #AusOpen
— Mitch (@carnesy56) January 22, 2024
Back injury for Svitolina 🇺🇦 as she struggles early on to even serve
Noskova 🇨🇿 3-0 up as the Ukrainian is forced to retire injured
Horrible for Elina who many thought would reach the final
Linda into her first Grand Slam QF
— Chris Goldsmith (@TheTennisTalker) January 22, 2024
Carlos Alcaraz joins big men's seeds in Australian Open quarters
On the men's side, Spanish World No.2 Alcaraz made an emphatic statement with a 6-4 6-4 6-0 thrashing of Serbia's Miomir Kecmanovic. He will face sixth seed Alexander Zverev in the quarters, after the German survived a five-set epic against Cameron Norrie to progress to his third quarter-final at Melbourne Park 7-5 3-6 6-3 4-6 7-6 (10-3).
Daniil Medvedev ended the fairytale run of unheralded Portuguese player Nuno Borges. But it was a far-from-convincing win, with the Russian needing four sets to prevail 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 5-7 6-1.
The runner-up at the Australian Open in 2022, Medvedev will now face Hubert Hurkacz. The big-serving Pole downed 21-year-old Frenchman Arthur Cazaux 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 to earn his first quarter-final berth at Melbourne Park.
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