23-year first for Aussie tennis as Iga Swiatek crashes out of Wimbledon

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Iga Swiatek, pictured here after crashing out at Wimbledon.
Four Australians have advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon after Iga Swiatek crashed out. Image: Getty

Four Aussies advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon on Saturday in a day of drama that saw World No.1 Iga Swiatek go crashing out.

Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur are on a quarter-final collision course after four Australians advanced to the second week at the All England Club for the first time this century.

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Qualifier Jason Kubler and women's gun Ajla Tomljanovic also powered into the last 16 on a truly memorable day for Australian tennis in London.

Not since 1999 when Pat Rafter, Mark Philippoussis, Wayne Arthurs and Jelena Dokic all made the fourth round has Australia had so many chances entering the business end of the championships.

Tomljanovic's draw was blown wide open early on Saturday when No.1 Swiatek crashed out at the hands of French veteran Alize Cornet.

Tomljanovic staged a valiant fightback to roar into the last 16 for the second-straight year with a stirring victory over 2021 French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova.

Defying her world No.44 ranking, Tomljanovic upset the 13th-seeded Czech 2-6 6-4 6-3 and earned a rich reward in the process.

Instead of an anticipated fourth-round showdown with Swiatek, opportunity knocks for Tomljanovic in a Monday meeting with the unseeded Cornet.

Alize Cornet and Iga Swiatek, pictured here shaking hands after their match at Wimbledon.
Alize Cornet and Iga Swiatek shake hands after their match at Wimbledon. (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)

Cornet produced the shock of the tournament to snap Swiatek's 37-match, six-title winning streak and send the top-seeded Roland Garros champion out in a 6-4 6-2 boilover.

Swiatek's departure presents Tomljanovic with a massive chance to match - and potentially better - her breakout run to last year's quarter-finals at the grass-court grand slam.

"Alize, I remember I had a really tough match with her here last year in the second round," Tomljanovic said.

"We really had some long rallies. I think she also has a shot to maybe win or make an upset. You never know what can happen in slams.

"I'll just have to play my best."

Three Aussie men march into Wimbledon fourth round

Kyrgios conjured a massive upset of his own as he took down Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-3 7-6 (9-7) in a controversial encounter.

The 2014 quarter-finalist will face unseeded American Brandon Nakashima on Monday for a spot in the last eight for the second time in his career.

He will play de Minaur if the Aussie No.1 lives up to his 19th seeding and beats unseeded Chilean Cristian Garin in their last-16 clash on Monday.

Such a scenario would guarantee Australia a men's semi-finalist for the first time since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005.

Alex de Minaur, pictured here celebrating after beating Liam Broady at Wimbledon.
Alex de Minaur celebrates after beating Liam Broady at Wimbledon. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

As it is, de Minaur is already in uncharted territory after seeing off British wildcard Liam Broady 6-3 6-4 7-5 to reach the last 16 at Wimbledon for the first time.

"More than anything, I am just relieved to be in the second week of Wimbledon. It is incredibly special," de Minaur said.

"I am trying to enjoy every minute on the grass that I can and ride this wave."

Kubler rounded out Australia's incredible day with a steely 6-2 4-6 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 win over American qualifier Jack Sock in the longest match of the tournament.

Jason Kubler, pictured here celebrating his victory over Jack Sock at Wimbledon.
Jason Kubler celebrates his victory over Jack Sock at Wimbledon. (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

The four-hour, 15-minute effort earned the 29-year-old a shot at American 11th seed Taylor Fritz - plus a career pay day of $340,000 - or more if he wins again on Monday.

Kubler's improbable march into the last-16 has made him the toast of Australian tennis, with De Minaur leading the tributes to his oft-injured compatriot.

"The attitude he has towards life itself is just surreal, second to none," said de Minaur, who's witnessed Kubler's injury struggles down the years and simply marvelled at how he's kept persevering.

"I have not seen the guy not be happy any day of his life. He brings you up, always happy, always got a smile on his face - it's great to see him perform so well!"

with AAP

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