World No.1 Iga Swiatek clawed her way back from 4-1 down in the deciding set to topple former Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins in a second-round epic. The Pole pulled off a massive 6-4 3-6 6-4 victory under a closed roof at Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.
Swiatek showed nerves of steel to close out the third set and progress to the last 32 but admitted post-match that in her mind she was "at the airport already" when she was just games away from being ousted from the tournament. "But I wanted to fight till the end. I knew that she played just perfectly, but it would be hard for anybody to keep that level."
"So I wanted to be ready when more mistakes are going to come from the other side. And I just wanted to push her and I did that at the end and I'm really proud of myself because it wasn't easy."
Back in the changeroom after the match, Swiatek took to social media to write, "It's not over until it's over..." The world No.1 will play Czech Republic teen Linda Noskova on Saturday for a spot in the Round of 16.
Iga Swiatek shrugs off injury concerns
Swiatek has not been beaten since last September but was worryingly seen struggling with a knee injury in the third set. In the final set, Swiatek put a band around her left knee to provide extra support as she appeared to be finding it increasingly difficult to bend it.
Addressing the knee strapping after the match, Swiatek insisted it would not impact her run at Melbourne Park despite admitting that it is an injury that she has been struggling with for some time. "I have been struggling a little bit with my knee since Cancun," she said. "I have ups and downs... You don’t have to be worried"
Iga Swiatek says Ash Barty inspired her to reach world No.1
Swiatek paid tribute to Ash Barty for inspiring her to reach undisputed world No.1 in a recent interview after her first-round win at the Australian Open. The Aussie Open title favourite extended her winning run to 18 matches after beating Collins and has been a dominant world No.1 since Barty stepped away from the sport.
The Pole says Barty's success at the top of women's tennis inspired her to improve her own game. "Ash changed my mindset going into 2022 and I think that was a breakthrough for me," said 22-year Swiatek, who has won three of the past four French Opens and the 2022 US Open.
"I was a top-10 player but it was still tough to play against her and to win points and she really motivated me. It's not obviously the only reason, but I felt like it's one of the reasons I later became No.1 because I just felt I had more variety because I started practising the kind of stuff just to be able to play against her, getting back slices and everything."
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