Thu, 19 May 2022

No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka upset in Aussie Open

Field Level Media
25 Jan 2022, 02:40 GMT+10

Second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus was upset in Round 4 of the Australian Open on Monday, ousted by the 115th-ranked woman in the world.

Estonia's Kaia Kanepi defeated Sabalenka 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7) to advance to the quarterfinals.

Kanepi hit just 30 winners compared to 36 for Sabalenka but she committed just 30 unforced errors compared to 46 for the Belarusian. Kanepi saved five break points while breaking Sabalenka four times.

"I was really tight," Kanepi said afterward. "My hand was shaking when I started serving. I didn't make any first serves in, and that added to the pressure. I tried to hit (the serve) a bit harder with more spin. Then it didn't go in. Then I started to hit a bit slower. I tried different things to think about than the serve, but I don't think any of them helped. "I almost didn't [regroup]. I guess I was just lucky at the end. So close."

Kanepi, at 36 the oldest remaining woman in the draw, will next face No. 7 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland, who rallied for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Sorana Cirstea of Romania in two hours, 27 minutes.

It will be Swiatek's first Aussie Open quarterfinal, thanks to winning her first serve 76 percent of the time against Cirstea.

"For sure, she put a lot of pressure on me," Swiatek said. "I just had to overcome some doubts that I had. I did that pretty well, because I don't have a good statistic in terms of coming back after losing first sets. These kind of matches are going to give me a lot of confidence for the future, because coming back from losing in the first set and against a player who's constantly going forward, it's pretty hard, and I did that."

Also advancing to the quarters were No. 27 Danielle Collins and Alize Cornet of France.

Cornet upset No. 14 Simona Halep 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours, 33 minutes. Cornet reached her first grand slam quarterfinal in 63 attempts. She's also the first Frenchwoman to reach the quarters in Melbourne since 2009.

"It's never too late to try again," Cornet said.

Collins ousted No. 19 seed Elise Mertens of Germany 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours, 51 minutes. Collins endured nine aces by Mertens, breaking the German just five times in 18 chances.

"I think to do well in these events, you kind of have to ride out the storm," Collins said. "I think you have moments where you're playing some of your best tennis. Sometimes you lose your rhythm. Sometimes you're dealing with some little pestering aches and pains. Sometimes you're dealing with physical conditions, with weather."

Collins meets Cornet in the quarters.

--Field Level Media

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