Australian Open: Rybakina feels she can be world number one after beating Swiatek

By Sports Desk January 22, 2023

Elena Rybakina believes she can become the best player in the world if she performs as she did in the first week of the Australian Open after beating Iga Swiatek.

Wimbledon champion Rybakina claimed the scalp of the top seed on Sunday, winning 6-4 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena to reach the quarter-finals.

Swiatek was in a class of her own last year, winning eight titles – including the French Open and the US Open – to firmly establish herself as the best player in the world.

The Pole was the favourite to win the Australian Open for the first time, but the 25-ranked Rybakina sent her packing to set up a showdown with Jelena Ostapenko.

Rybakina made history with her fourth-round win, becoming the first woman representing Kazakhstan to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

The 23-year-old knows she has plenty to work on, but feels she can rise to the top of the rankings if she continues to improve and consistently match the high standards she has set at Melbourne Park.

Asked if she can be the best in the world when she's at her best: "Every opponent is really tough, and for sure for me I think there are still many things to improve.

"If I perform like I did this week and consistently, I will say that I can be number one, I can beat anyone. For now, I need to find my consistency."

Rybakina felt she was rewarded for taking such a positive approach against Swiatek.

"For sure when you play against the number one player, I think you have really nothing to lose. I knew that I had to be aggressive from the first ball because she's a great mover, and she defends really well.

"So I was trying to just attack her from the first ball, and it really worked well."

Related items

  • Nadal unlikely to play Wimbledon, focusing on Olympics Nadal unlikely to play Wimbledon, focusing on Olympics

    Rafael Nadal is unlikely to appear at Wimbledon in July, with the Olympic Games his focus following his early exit from the French Open.

    Nadal played what is likely to be his final match at the French Open – where he has won a record 14 titles – on Monday as he suffered a 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 first-round loss to Alexander Zverev.

    The Spaniard has repeatedly suggested he will call time on his glittering career at the end of 2024, having been hamstrung by hip and abdominal injuries in recent years.

    Nadal previously said he wished to make farewell appearances at each grand slam, but he now believes transitioning to grass before Wimbledon will be difficult.

    "For me now it looks difficult to make a transition to grass, then having the Olympics again on clay," Nadal said. "I cannot confirm anything. I need to talk with the team and analyse facts.

    "But I don't think it's going to be smart after all the things that happened to my body to make a big transition to a completely different surface and then come back immediately to clay."

    However, Nadal's participation at the Olympics – where the tennis tournaments will be held at Roland Garros – is subject to his fitness.

    If he is able to play, Nadal – a two-time Olympic gold medallist – hopes to play doubles with world number three Carlos Alcaraz. 

    "I cannot tell you if I will be playing or not in one month and a half, because my body has been a jungle for two years," he added.

    "You don't know what to expect. I wake up one day and I found a snake biting me. Another day a tiger."

    Asked about the prospect of teaming up with Alcaraz, he said: "If everything goes well, we are going to play doubles together here."

  • Medvedev battles into French Open second round after Koepfer triumph Medvedev battles into French Open second round after Koepfer triumph

    Daniil Medvedev staved off a Dominik Koepfer fightback to record a battling victory in the French Open first round on Monday.

    The world number five raced out the blocks on Court Simonne-Mathieu and eventually triumphed 6-3 6-4 5-7 6-3 in Paris.

    Medvedev, a five-time major runner-up and 2021 US Open champion, broke Koepfer's first service game in the French capital with that a seeming sign of things to come.

    Though the 28-year-old dropped his serve in the first set, Medvedev had little trouble in responding with the score finely poised at 3-2 to claim first blood at Roland-Garros.

    The fifth seed has only ever gone as far as the quarter-finals, three years ago, at the French Open but showed his clinical best to snatch the second set after holding all six service games for a narrow triumph.

    World number 65 Koepfer battled back in the third but the resilient Medvedev responded by breaking his German opponent early in the fourth set, finally securing victory in just over three hours.

    Data Debrief: Medvedev gets better of Koepfer again

    Medvedev has won all four of his meetings with Koepfer, with his most recent such victory seeing him reach the second round at Roland-Garros for the third time in eight attempts.

    Since the start of the 2021 season, Medvedev is 27-1 against players ranked outside the top 50 at major events, with his only loss in that run coming against Seyboth Wild in the French Open first round last year.

    Koepfer, meanwhile, extends to 1-17 against top-10 players in his career, earning his only such victory against over Gael Monfils – then ranked ninth in the world – at the 2020 ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome.

  • Sakkari crashes out in French Open first round after Gracheva upset Sakkari crashes out in French Open first round after Gracheva upset

    Varvara Gracheva produced an eye-catching upset after sending Maria Sakkari crashing out of the French Open on Monday.

    World number 88 Gracheva battled to a 3-6 6-4 6-3 victory on Court Simonne-Mathieu, claiming a notable Roland-Garros scalp in the first round.

    Gracheva clinched five of six break points in an impressive fightback after falling a set down in Paris to sixth seed Sakkari.

    Her reward will be a second-round meeting with Bernarda Pera, who overcame Japan's Nao Hibino in straight sets on the same day.

    Data Debrief: Gracheva earns top-10 scalp

    Gracheva will be bidding to make the third round in Paris for the third time in her career after Sakkari became the first big-name exit in the women's draw.

    This victory against world number eight Sakkari marked Gracheva's fourth top-10 win in her career, and second win against such opponents in major events.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.