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Swiatek, Gauff crash out

Tsitsipas battles past Sinner into quarters
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 22, 2023 Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina in action during her fourth round match against Poland's Iga Swiatek REUTERS/Sandra Sanders
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 22, 2023 Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina in action during her fourth round match against Poland's Iga Swiatek REUTERS/Sandra Sanders

MELBOURNE: Stefanos Tsitsipas battled into the Australian Open's last eight on Sunday but women's top seed Iga Swiatek and a tearful Coco Gauff became the latest big-name victims.


Swiatek's defeat to Elena Rybakina made it the first Grand Slam since the Open era began in 1968 to lose the top two seeds in both the men's and women's draws before the quarterfinals.


That left Greece's Tsitsipas as the highest remaining men's seed at three, and he avoided the fate of Rafael Nadal and Casper Ruud with a dogged victory over Jannik Sinner.


Tsitsipas, who is pursuing a first major crown, defeated the Italian 15th seed 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3 to set up a quarterfinal with the unseeded Jiri Lehecka.


"It was a long match, I felt like I spent an entire century on this court playing tennis," said the 24-year-old Tsitsipas, who has seen the draw open up for him with six of the top 10 seeds out.


"What a great night. That was superb, 'a ripper' as they say here."


Czech world number 71 Lehecka defeated sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in four sets in yet another surprise result.


The 21-year-old Lehecka was knocked out in the first round at the four majors last year but was too hot for the Canadian, winning 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/3).


"After losing in the first round last year, if someone had told me before the tournament that I would be playing like this, I wouldn't have believed them," said Lehecka.


"I'm super happy and excited."


Giant-killer Sebastian Korda surged into a maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal and faces 18th-seeded Karen Khachanov of Russia.


The American 29th seed came through a rollercoaster 10-point deciding tie-break to beat 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (10/7).


Korda, whose father Petr won the title in 1998, produced one of the performances of his career to upset two-time Australian Open finalist Daniil Medvedev in the third round.


COCO'S TEARS


The women's draw also has an unfamiliar look, after a day of shocks.


Wimbledon champion Rybakina swept past the 2022 French and US Open winner Swiatek 6-4, 6-4 in 1hr 29min at a stunned Rod Laver Arena.


Moscow-born Kazakh Rybakina, seeded 22, moves on to a last-eight encounter with Jelena Ostapenko.


World number one and hot favourite Swiatek admitted Rybakina deserved to win.


"I felt the pressure," Swiatek, 21, said. "I felt that I didn't want to lose instead of wanting to win."


Swiatek, who dominated women's tennis last year and is already a three-time major champion, added: "I felt today that I don't have that much left to fight even more."


She follows second seed Ons Jabeur out the Melbourne exit door, the Tunisian having gone out in the second round in another surprise.


Latvian 17th seed Ostapenko provided the second upset of a crazy few minutes by knocking out seventh seed Gauff 7-5, 6-3 on neighbouring Margaret Court Arena.


The 18-year-old American broke down in tears during an emotional post-match press conference.


She had been favourite to defeat Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open winner.


But the 25-year-old Ostapenko was always in control to ensure that Gauff must wait at least a little longer for a first major title.


Gauff told reporters it was a "little bit frustrating", then her voice suddenly began to crack and the tears flowed.


There were no tears for Jessica Pegula however, the American third seed powering into the last eight with a 7-5, 6-2 win over former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova.


Pegula, now the title favourite, faces two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka or unseeded Zhu Lin of China. -- AFP


Australian Open results


Men (fourth round)


Karen Khachanov (RUS x18) bt Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN x31) 6-0, 6-0, 7-6 (7/4); Sebastian Korda (USA x29) bt Hubert Hurkacz (POL x10) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (10/7); Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x3) bt Jannik Sinner (ITA x15) 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3; Jiri Lehecka (CZE) bt Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN x6) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/3)


Women (fourth round)


Elena Rybakina (KAZ x22) bt Iga Swiatek (POL x1) 6-4, 6-4; Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x17) bt Coco Gauff (USA x7) 7-5, 6-3; Jessica Pegula (USA x3) bt Barbora Krejcikova (CZE x20) 7-5, 6-2


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