Iga Swiatek ‘wished she played better’ after shock early Australian Open exit
Iga Swiatek has faced her earliest Grand Slam exit since Wimbledon 2022, with the Pole suffering a shock defeat to 19-year-old Linda Noskova.
Swiatek had just survived in her second round match against former finalist Danielle Collins, fighting back from 4-1 down in the deciding set.
And she appeared to be finding her feet after winning the first set against the Czech teenager, 6-3, but Noskova hit back to force a third set.
The world No.1 regained her composure and put herself up a break in the decider, before Noskova won four of the last five games to produce a major shock on Rod Laver Arena.
“Well, last year I felt like much more off the balance. I felt like the whole season may be just tough because of the start. I was expecting much more,” said Iga Swiatek. “This year I was more focused on just not the results and not the rankings or my game a little bit more.”
The 22-year-old continued, “This year I feel like I just want to get kind of back to work. I know I’m going to have plenty of chances during the season to show my game. Last year I felt like I was just overwhelmed with beginning the year as world No.1. It kind of took me off my balance. It was totally different, yeah.”
It is Noskova’s first main draw appearance at the Australian Open, but Swiatek has compared her to rivals Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina, “It was tough to read her serve. I would say she kind of serves Sabalenka’s, Rybakina’s style in terms of the placement and the speed.
“I would say that I wasn’t returning overall on this tournament the same way as usually, especially the second serves. But still I know that I did everything I could to try to make it work. Technically it didn’t work. But I know I did everything I could. I have kind of no regrets. For sure I wish I could have played a little bit better in this tournament.”
1 – Linda Noskova is the first teenager to defeat to World No. 1 at the Australian Open since Amelie Mauresmo in 1999 (vs Lindsay Davenport). Din.#AusOpen | @AustralianOpen @WTA @WTA_insider pic.twitter.com/xX78ENHcHt
— OptaAce (@OptaAce) January 20, 2024
Noskova will now move onto play in the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career, and she will play the resurgent Elina Svitolina on Monday.
Inside the baseline…
There have been many shocks at the Australian Open this year, but this is perhaps the biggest, with Iga Swiatek one of the red hot favourites to claim the title in Melbourne. Linda Noskova has always been known as a huge young talent, with the Czech teenager winning the Roland Garros junior singles title back in 2021, however there was just an assumption that Swiatek would have too much for her. This result has left the top half of the women’s draw wide open, with Victoria Azarenka the only player to have even reached a major final before.
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