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Other SportsAustralian Open: Day five round-up - Swiatek and Alcaraz advance but Rybakina...

Australian Open: Day five round-up – Swiatek and Alcaraz advance but Rybakina stunned in classic

World number one Iga Swiatek conceded she was “already at the airport” before hitting back to see off Danielle Collins and advance to the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday.

Swiatek trailed 4-1 in the final set to the gritty American – who beat her in the 2022 semi-finals at Melbourne Park – only to dig deep to come through 6-4 3-6 6-4.

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“Honestly, I was already at the airport,” said a relieved Swiatek.

“I didn’t feel like I had control over this match (but) I wanted to fight till the end. I’m happy that I was solid and I just believed till the end.”

There were two surprise exits with third seed Elena Rybakina going out following an epic contest against Anna Blinkova while fifth seed Jessica Pegula was beaten by Clare Burel.

Blinkova saved six match points – and needed 10 herself – in prevailing 6-4 4-6 7-6 (22/20) in a match that concluded with the longest breaker in a singles match in grand slam history.

Pegula’s exit was less dramatic, a limp 6-4 6-2 defeat.

Former US Open champion Emma Raducanu saw her return to grand slam tennis ended by a 6-4 4-6 6-4 defeat to China’s Wang Yafan.

The Brit fought hard but struggled physically in just her fourth match back after wrist and ankle surgeries.

In a bad day for the British women, Katie Boulter also went out, beaten by another Chinese player, Zheng Qinwen.

On the men’s side, Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev both advanced but in very different ways.

Alcaraz dropped a set but prevailed 6-4 6-7 (3/7) 6-3 7-6 (7/3) against Lorenzo Sonego while Zverev was another player thinking of the trip home during his match against Lukas Klein.

Klein belied his ranking of 163 by taking hold of the contest but the German found a way through courtesy of two tie-breaks, winning 7-5 3-6 4-6 7-6 (7/5) 7-6 (10/7).

Zverev said: “I was thinking there’s a Qantas flight at 11pm tonight straight to Dubai and then one home. A lot of the time I was a spectator in the match. I was just witnessing whether he’s going to hit a winner or miss.”

Eleventh seed Casper Ruud also needed a fifth-set breaker to beat Max Purcell and will now face Cameron Norrie, the Brit seeing off qualifier Giulio Zeppieri in five sets.

Jack Draper is out, though, losing to Tommy Paul, as is eighth seed Holger Rune, who was beaten in four sets by French wildcard Arthur Cazaux.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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