Czech mate: World No.1 Swiatek knocked out by 19-year-old
World No.1 Iga Swiatek has been dumped out of the Australian Open in the third round by unheralded Czech teenager Linda Noskova, throwing the race for the women’s title wide open.
Swiatek claimed the first set against world No.50 Noskova and appeared poised to claim her 19th consecutive win and seal progression to the fourth round at Melbourne Park.
But the 19-year-old Czech, who made her main draw debut this year, fought back and broke Swiatek in the third set before brilliantly serving out the biggest win of her career 3-6 6-3 6-4.
“I’m speechless,” Noskova said.
“I knew it was going to be an amazing match, with the world No.1, such a player, but I didn’t really think that it would end up like this.
“I’m just really glad to get through this round. I was a little shaky (when serving for the match).
“I didn’t hit two first serves, which was not the best start for me, but I pulled out an ace.”
Noskova will play either 19th seed Elina Svitolina or Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic in the fourth round.
Swiatek’s defeat presents a golden opportunity for Svitolina and two-time winner Victoria Azarenka – both on the Pole’s side of the draw – to make a deep run.
Only six seeds are into the fourth round so far, with Svitolina looking to join them on Saturday.
In the opposite bracket, defending champion Aryna Sabalenka and world No.4 Coco Gauff will be licking their lips.
The defeat means 22-year-old Swiatek’s search for a maiden Melbourne Park title goes on.
The world No.1, who has won at Roland Garros three times and the US Open once, reached the semi-finals in 2022 and was knocked out in the fourth round last year.
She reached at least the round of 16 in all four slams last year, with Saturday’s defeat marking her earliest exit since a third-round loss at Wimbledon in 2022.
The Noskova clash had loomed as a more straightforward affair for Swiatek after tough matches against Sofia Kenin and Danielle Collins.
She had won 67 of her previous 68 matches against players ranked outside the top 50.