Day 7 of the 2023 Australian Open was a bracket buster. Several high seeds went down, but none more surprising than No. 1 Iga Swiatek.
Swiatek spent most of 2022 at the top, but she couldn't punch her ticket to the quarterfinals against Elena Rybakina, the 22nd seed. Rybakina beat Swiatek 6-4, 6-4 in 89 minutes. She overpowered the No. 1 women's tennis player in the world, slamming six aces and 24 overall winners, nine more than Swiatek,
Rybakina may be seeded 22nd, but she's far more dangerous than than number indicates. She beat Ons Jabeur to win Wimbledon in 2022, but since there were no ranking points given out, the win didn't impact her seeding. But now she's through to the quarterfinals at the Aussie Open for the first time. And unlike Wimbledon last year, this time the points count.
Other notable upsets
It was a bad day for Coco Gauff, the No. 7 seed. No. 17 Jelena Ostapenko defeated her 7-5, 6-3, and she was in tears speaking to the press after the match, frustrated with her performance.
No. 6 Felix Auger-Aliassime lost in four sets to an unranked Czech player, Jiri Lehecka.
No. 10 Hubert Hurkacz went the full five sets again No. 29 Sebastian Korda, but lost the final set tiebreaker by three points.
How did the Americans do?
As you saw in the previous section, it wasn't a great day for Gauff. But the decks have been cleared for Jessica Pegula, the highest-seeded American (and woman) left in the tournament, to swing her way to her very first Grand Slam title. The No. 3 seed defeated No. 20 Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 6-2 in 101 minutes, and clearly won't settle for anything less than the finals.
There's one American man left in the seeds, and that's Sebastian Korda, seeded 29th. He pulled off a major upset on Sunday, defeating No. 10 Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(7) that ended with a final-set 10-point tiebreak. The 22-year-old Korda managed to eke out a win and is on to his first-ever Grand Slam quarterfinal.
No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 15 Jannik Sinner played five sets over four hours, and when the dust settled, Tsitsipas emerged the winner, defeating Sinner 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3.
No. 18 Karen Khachanov beat No. 31 Yoshihito Nishioka pretty thoroughly, 6-0, 6-0, 7-6(4) in under two hours.
The magical run of Zhu Lin, the unseeded player who defeated No. 6 Maria Sakkari, has ended at the hands of No. 24 Victoria Azarenka. Azarenka won 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, and she's on to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2016.
Highlight of the day
Doubles doesn't get the love it should. It produces mind-bending volleys that show off the sharp reflexes doubles players have to possess in order to play well with a partner. This is one of those volleys.
Um, did he just fly?! Without doubt one of our favourite AO Moments!@wwos• @espn • @eurosport • @wowowtennis • #AusOpen • #AO2023 pic.twitter.com/6ASfyGCDEi— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 22, 2023
What to watch on Day 8
The winners on Day 8 will make it to the quarterfinals, so we're approaching the "all the marbles" point of the tournament.
No. 4 Novak Djokovic will play Australian Alex de Minaur, the No. 22 seed.
No. 4 Caroline Garcia will face Magda Linette, who has already made the best Grand Slam showing of her career with a fourth-round appearance.
No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka will play No. 12 Belinda Bencic
No. 5 Andrey Rublev vs. No. 9 Holger Rune
Three Americans will play on Monday, but two of them are facing each other.
The young Ben Shelton, playing in his first Australian Open, will face J. J. Wolf to see which of them will break through to their first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Tommy Paul will play No. 24 Roberto Bautista Agut