Rybakina topples Collins in Australian Open third round
Reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina triumphed in a third-round showdown at the Australian Open on Friday, as the No.22 seed from Kazakhstan held off last year’s runner-up Danielle Collins of the United States 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.
Rybakina had also defeated Collins in their opening match of this season at the Adelaide International 1, and she backed up that victory with a challenging 2-hour and 5-minute win on Kia Arena. Rybakina is now into the Round of 16 at the Australian Open for the first time in her career.
No.13 seed Collins, who beat Iga Swiatek to reach her first Grand Slam final in Melbourne last year, had battled through two lengthy matches to get to the third round this year. Collins is the first woman to concede over 30 games en route to the Australian Open third round since Daniela Hantuchova in 2014.
Another win proved to be one step too far for Collins, as Rybakina had 33 winners, including eight aces, to power to victory and take a 2-1 lead in their head-to-head. Rybakina had a matching 33 unforced errors, but Collins’s 22 winners were outpaced by 34 unforced errors.
Rybakina cruised through the opening set, but Collins held firm and garnered her first break point of the day at 6-5 in the second set — which doubled as set point. The American converted that chance to level the match.
However, Rybakina quickly turned things around in the third set, polishing off some key points with deft volleys to race to a 4-0 lead. Rybakina closed out the win by storming to a love hold in the final game.
Rybakina will now wait to see if she will face World No.1 Iga Swiatek in the Round of 16. If it happens, it would be the first meeting between reigning Grand Slam champions since Ashleigh Barty defeated Barbora Krejcikova in the 2021 Cincinnati quarterfinals.
Swiatek, the reigning Roland Garros and US Open champion, will first have to defeat qualifier Cristina Bucsa later on Friday to set that encounter.
More to come….
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