Saturday, January 21, 2023

Round of 16 set for Australian Open

As I write this, top seed Iga Swiatek is playing her round of 16 match against Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina. Gone is 2nd seed Ons Jabeur and gone is Danielle Collins (courtesy of Rybakina); both of them were considered serious contenders for the title. 6th seed Maria Sakkari is also out.

Here is the round of 16 draw:

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Elena Rybakina (22)*
Alona Ostapenko (17) vs. Coco Gauff (7)
Jessie Pegula (3) vs. Barbora Krejcikova (20)
Viktoria Azarenka (24) vs. Zhu Lin
Karolina Pliskova (30) vs. Zhang Shaui (23)
Magda Linette vs. Caroline Garcia (4)
Aryna Sabalenka (5) vs. Belinda Bencic (12)
Donna Vekic vs. Linda Fruhvirtova

*Rybakina should be ranked higher, but she was denied ranking points after her Wimbledon victory.

The three matches that intrigue me the most are the one that's being played now--Swiatek vs. Rybakina, Peguala Vs. Krejcikova, and Sabalenka vs. Garcia. 

Rybankina's serve could allow her to boss Switek around, and the world number one may have to do more problem-solving than ususal (as I write this, she's down a set). Pegula and Krejcikova could give us a thriler, and Sabalenka's big hitting won't get her as far against Bencic as it does against many other players.

Fruhvirtova is already a winner of sorts, making it to the round of 16 of a major at 17 years old. Petra Kvitova and Karolina Muchova are already out of the tournament; Muchova (back in good health and good form) lost in a thrilling match against Collins. And Marketa Vondrousova, back after two wrist surgeries, sustained a foot injury in her third round match and faded away as she played in considerable pain in her third set against countrywoman Fruhvirtova. But there are always more Czechs, and Krejcikova and Fruhvirtova are carrying the Czech flag at the business end of the Australian Open.

The only former champion left in the draw is Azarenka, who won the tournament in 2012 and 2013.

No comments: