Crossing the Linette— Tick Tock Tennis (@TickTockTennis) January 23, 2023
The last Polish woman left in the draw isn't Iga Swiatek... it's Magda Linette!
After years of big wins and close losses, Linette is finally putting it together at a slam, defeating 4th seed Caroline Garcia, 7-6 (3), 6-4, to reach the quarterfinals. pic.twitter.com/9BxeY35E6b
Top seed and world number 1 Iga Swiatek isn't playing in the Autralian Open quarterfinals, nor is 2nd seed and world number 2 Ons Jabeur. Also gone are 4th seed Caroline Garcia, 6th seed Maria Sakkari, and the rest of the top 10, save Jessie Pegula and Aryna Sabalenka.
But that doesn't mean that the quarterfinal draw isn't filled with quality. Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, seeded 22nd because of a ridiculous political dispute between the WTA (and the ATP) and Wimbldeon, should have a much higher seed/ranking. Victoria Azarenka is a two-time Australian Open champion, and Alona Ostapenko is a former French Open champion.
Donna Vekic, who has shown so much promise for so long, has reached a major quarterfinal for the second time in her career--she made it to the U.S. Open quarterfinals in 2019. And the hard-working Magda Linette has reached a major quarterfinal for the first time in her career. So far, the 30-year-old Polish player has upset 16th seed Anett Kontaveit, 19th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova and 4th seed Garcia.
And then there's Karolina Pliskova, the 2016 U.S. Open runner-up and the 2021 Wimbledon runner-up. Pliskova has long been just on the edge of winning a major, and is certainly a contender to win this one.
Here is the quarterfinal draw:
Elena Rybakina (22) vs. Alona Ostapenko (17)
Jessie Pegula (3) vs. Victoria Azarenka (24)
Karolina Pliskova (30) vs. Magda Linette
Aryna Sabalenka (5) vs. Donna Vekic
Notes on the draw:
If (and "if" is the operable word) French Open (and--so far--2023 Australian Open) Ostapenko shows up, she can give Rybakina a very hard time, though Rybakina's serve can do the same to Ostapenko.
Pegula gets stronger with every match, and it will be interesting to see her (which I won't be able to) play against a fully in-flight Azarenka, who loves the courts in Melbourne. Pegula won't get rattled, though.
Pliskova has yet to drop a set in Melbourne. Defeating her looks like a tough task for Linette, who will either build on the tremendous confidence that she's gained--or be done in by the occasion. My gut feeling is that Linette--who has worked for so long to get to this point--won't fold; this could be an interesting match.
Aryna Sabalenka also hasn't dropped a set, and has been in full control of her matches--even against the formidable Belinda Bencic--at this event. She does have a tendency to "go off," especially with her serve, but if she keeps playing in her current form, Vekic has an uphill battle.