In a shocking turn of events at the Australian Open, 19-year-old Czech tennis sensation Linda Nosková derailed Iga Świątek’s quest for a fifth grand slam title. The world No. 1, Świątek, faced a stunning defeat in the third round, losing to Nosková with a scoreline of 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 at Rod Laver Arena.
Świątek, hailing from Poland, initially secured the first set, appearing in control of the match. However, Nosková orchestrated a remarkable comeback, claiming victory in a thrilling three-set battle. The world No. 50 Nosková showcased her prowess, breaking Świątek’s serve with a forehand winner at a critical moment in the match.
The decisive set saw both players exchanging breaks, but Nosková seized the advantage at 3-3, breaking Świątek’s serve and maintaining control until the end of the match. According to Opta, this marked the first instance of a teenager defeating the world No. 1 at the Australian Open since Amélie Mauresmo accomplished the feat against Lindsay Davenport in 1999.
The defeat halted Świątek’s 18-match winning streak, dating back to September of the previous year. Nosková expressed her astonishment in the on-court interview, stating, “I’m speechless, obviously. I knew it was going to be an amazing match with the world No.1. I definitely didn’t think that it would end up like this. I’m just really glad to get through this round.”
Nosková’s triumph, her first appearance in the Australian Open main draw, sets the stage for her maiden entry into the fourth round of a grand slam. She will face Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina in the next round. Additionally, Nosková’s victory leaves only one former grand slam champion, Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka, in the top half of the women’s draw in this year’s tournament.
The young Czech player’s impressive performance included 10 aces, including a crucial one in the final game, and 35 winners against Świątek. Reflecting on her nerves while serving for the match, Nosková commented, “I was a little shaking. Obviously, I didn’t hit two first serves, which wasn’t the best start for me, but I pulled out an ace, and it’s easier like that. It’s tough sometimes to bring it.”
As for Świątek, she acknowledged feeling in control but pointed out Nosková’s fearless approach, stating, “She probably knew that she has nothing to lose. Maybe I should have done that when I had break points in previous games, but I wanted kind of to be the solid version of myself.”