Russian women suffer Australian Open disappointment


Ekaterina Alexandrova’s defeat means no female Russian representatives remain in the singles in Melbourne

Russia is without a representative in the women’s singles at the Australian Open after 19th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova suffered a shock third-round defeat to Polish rival Magda Linette on Saturday.

Alexandrova lost the contest in straight sets at Rod Laver Arena, 6-3 6-4, capping a disappointing tournament for Russia’s women’s stars. None have made it into the second week of action at Melbourne Park despite Russia starting with 14 women in the main singles draw – including four of the top 20 seeds.

The highest-ranked Russian female contender, Daria Kasatkina, crashed out in the opening round as the number eight seed was beaten by compatriot Varvara Gracheva. The unseeded Gracheva progressed to the third round before her hopes were ended by Czech rival Karolina Pliskova.

Elsewhere, there were first-round losses for Anna Kalinskaya, Kamilla Rakhimova, Polina Kudermetova, Anna Blinkova, Evgeniya Rodina, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Oksana Selekhmeteva, and Liudmila Samsonova – the latter of whom was seeded 18th.

Russian teenager Diana Shnaider bowed out in the second round following a battle with Greek sixth seed Maria Sakkari, while Russian ninth seed Veronika Kudermetova exited at the same stage in a shock defeat to American qualifier Katie Volynets.

Alexandrova was unable to overcome her unseeded opponent.

©  Quinn Rooney / Getty Images

The disappointing performances this year mean that Russia’s wait continues for a first female Grand Slam champion since Maria Sharapova at the French Open in 2014. Sharapova was also the last Russian females singles champion in Melbourne, winning the title in 2008.

Russia does, however, still have representatives in the women’s doubles event this year in Melbourne. Pavlyuchenkova is into the third round alongside Russian-born partner Elena Rybakina, who has represented Kazakhstan since 2018. Rybakina remains in the singles draw and will meet world number one Iga Swiatek in their fourth-round match on Sunday.

Russia’s Kalinskaya is also still in doubles contention alongside American partner Caroline Dolehide and the pair will play in the third round.

In the men’s draw, Russia has two representatives in the last 16 of the singles event. Fifth seed Andrey Rublev will take on Danish ninth seed Holger Rune in the fourth round on Monday, while Russian 18th seed Karen Khachanov plays Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka at the same stage of the tournament on Sunday. 

READ MORE: Russian number one marches on at Australian Open

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