The seeds keep falling at the Aus Open as world number two Karolina Pliskova departs


Melbourne 3000

World number two Karolina Pliskova has joined the list of seeds to have crashed out of the women’s draw at the Australian Open after she went down to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the third round on Rod Laver Arena.

Key points:

  • Karolina Pliskova lost to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets, 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/3)
  • Pliskova is the highest seed to lose in the women’s draw in Melbourne
  • Belinda Bencic was was hammered 6-0, 6-1 by Anett Kontaveit

Russian Pavlyuchenkova battled to a 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/3) win over the second-seeded Czech, who joined defending champion Naomi Osaka and 23-times major singles winner Serena Williams in making third-round exits.

Third seed Osaka was taken down by American 15-year-old sensation Coco Gauff last night, while seven-time champion Williams lost in three sets to China’s Wang Qiang.

Not long after Pliskova was beaten, Swiss sixth seed Belinda Bencic was thrashed 6-0, 6-1 by Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit, who won the first nine games of the match and took just 49 minutes to advance.

And unseeded Polish teenager Iga Swiatek knocked out 19th seed Donna Vekic 7-5, 6-3 to match her best performance at a major, having reached the last 16 at the French Open last year.

Pliskova produced a lacklustre effort, 12 months after she made a run to the semi-finals in Melbourne.

Pavlyuchenkova had a 4-1 lead in the first set and a 2-0 lead in the second before being taken to tiebreaks but won the key points to clinch victory in two hours and 25 minutes.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m still in the match and focusing on the next point,” Pavlyuchenkova said.

“I was thinking that if I take one or two games on her serve that would be amazing because she is the ace queen on the tour so that was my goal, so I was focusing on returning well.

“I also managed to hold on my serve too, so that helped.”

She will next meet Angelique Kerber in the fourth round, the three-times major singles champion among the few seeds to make it through to the last 16.

Kerber progressed with a 6-2, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3 win over Camila Giorgi, extending her unbeaten record against the Italian to 5-0.

The German 17th seed, who won the title in 2016, was barely troubled in the first set as the erratic Giorgi served up eight double faults and 20 unforced errors on Margaret Court Arena.

Giorgi, however, cut out the misfires and dialled in her groundstrokes in the second set, striking a forehand winner in the tiebreak to level the match.

Kerber upped her game in the third set against her 102nd-ranked opponent, breaking Giorgi to go up 5-3 before serving out the victory in two hours and eight minutes.

Svitolina the latest seed to crash out

In the night session, two-time major winner Garbine Muguruza beat fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-2 to reach the fourth round.

External Link:

Australian Open tweet: U-N-S-T-O-P-P-A-B-L-E @GarbiMuguruza hits 31 winners to knock out 5th seed Elina Svitolina 6-1 6-2, and reach the #AusOpen fourth round for the fifth time. #AO2020

Muguruza, a former world number one who won the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon the following year, took the first set in 23 minutes and conceded just 12 points in seven games.

Unseeded Muguruza started the tournament by losing the first set she played 6-0, but rebounded to win that match 0-6, 6-1, 6-0.

“The first day I didn’t feel well at all, but I never throw in the towel,” she said.

“I’m in the fourth round because of a big fight.”

Against Svitolina, a quarter-finalist at the last two Australian Open tournaments and a semi-finalist last year at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, Muguruza was dominant.

“Everything went quickly my way — yeah, I’ll take it,” she said. “I played a very good match. I managed to probably disturb her, and take the match to my side.”

Halep safely through

Earlier, fourth seed Simona Halep made it to the fourth round, as she proved too strong for Kazakh Yulia Putintseva in their first career meeting with a 6-1 6-4 win on Rod Laver Arena.

Former world number one Halep, who reached the Melbourne Park final in 2018, broke Putintseva’s serve three times in the first set and twice in the second.



Photo:

Simona Halep did not drop a set against Yulia Putintseva in their third-round match.

Putintseva, ranked 38th in the world, broke Halep once in each set and surprised her opponent with some well-disguised drop shots, though her last attempt hit the net to end the match.

Two-time major champion Halep, 28, will next meet Belgian number 16 seed Elise Mertens, who beat American Catherine Bellis 6-1, 6-7 (5/7), 6-0 on Melbourne Arena.

Reuters/AP

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news



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