Last year's Australian Open runner-up, Danielle Collins, has been sent packing from the third round by reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, another top seed out of the tournament in the early rounds. Rybakina had the measure of Collins throughout the match, with the American only earning her first break point of the match on what was also set point in the second frame.
It was a frustrating outing for Collins, who Rybakina defeated 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 to continue her own impressive run at Melbourne Park. Soon after giving up a double-break to begin the third set, Collins made a complaint to the umpire about the broadcast cameras at Kia Arena.
Collins appeared to be uncomfortable with the proximity and angle of the cameras whenever players took a seat between games. It's been a brief but eventful run at the Australian Open for Collins, with the World No.11 accidentally celebrating too early in the second round after misreading the score.
Rybakina's win sets up a fourth-round clash of the titans, with the Wimbledon champion set to face off against French Open, US Open, and World No.1 Iga Swiatek. Collins may simply have run out of steam after two gruelling matches to begin the tournament.
Collins became the first player since Daniela Hantuchova in 2014 Australian Open to concede more than 30 games but still make it to the third round. She needed three sets to get past first round opponent Anna Kalinskaya, before another three-setter against Karolina Muchova in the second round which needed two tiebreaks to be settled.
Meanwhile, fellow American Jessica Pegula will take on former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova in a tantalising fourth-round clash after the pair raced through to the Australian Open second week. On a day where world Swiatek swept aside Cristina Bucsa 6-0 6-1, she was joined in the fourth round by Wimbledon champion and her next opponent in the aforementioned Rybakina, along with Pegula, Krejcikova, Coco Gauff and Jelena Ostapenko.
Danielle Collins crashes out as fellow American flies through third round
Pegula is yet to drop a set in Melbourne and barely raised a sweat in her 6-0 6-2 thrashing of Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk, needing just an hour and five minutes to seal a fourth-round berth. She will next face the resurgent Krejcikova, who has flown under the radar in her bid to complete a rare Australian Open title double and also easily beat a Ukrainian in Anhelina Kalinina 6-2 6-3 on Friday.
Pegula is suitably wary of Krejcikova, who has won all four doubles slams, been ranked as high as No.2 in the world in singles, and reached the quarter-finals at the Open last year. Krejcikova is the 20th seed at Melbourne Park this year after an elbow injury and dipping form in majors hurt her ranking but regained form late last year and shapes as a dangerous prospect.
"Obviously, I've watched her quite a bit," Pegula said. "She's had a great couple of years, obviously last year she was a little bit hurt. It seems like she's finding her confidence again.
"I actually don't think I've ever played her in singles, just in doubles. So I have a little bit of an idea but I'll definitely have to watch some more of her matches."
Pegula was the star of the United States' United Cup win, including thrashing Swiatek, and, at 28, appears primed to kick on from back-to-back quarter-finals at Melbourne Park to genuinely contend for the title.
Krejcikova, the 2021 French Open singles champion who won the 2022 Melbourne Park doubles title with compatriot Katerina Siniakova, is also yet to drop a set and has only lost 14 games across her first three matches.
"Everything is improving. I think with every single match I'm getting better and better," she said. "I'm really happy with the way I'm winning so far."
Seventh seed Gauff clinched her place in the second week with a 6-3 6-2 win over her fellow American Bernarda Pera and will next face Ostapenko, who brushed aside another Ukrainian in Kateryna Baindl 6-3 6-0.
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