Jelena Ostapenko was once again left bemoaning the electronic line calling system in place at the Australian Open after her quarter-final defeat to Elena Rybakina.

The Latvian did not blame the system for her loss, with Rybakina sealing a convincing 6-2 6-4 victory on Tuesday, but reiterated her belief that calls are being missed.

When asked following her fourth-round win against Coco Gauff whether she believed in the system, Ostapenko replied with a smile: "Honestly? No."

Speaking after her loss to Rybakina, she again smiled as she said: "I'm not really happy with the system they are using.

"A couple of times it was not even by a couple of centimetres. It was much more than that. But I cannot do anything about it, because it is the way as it is.

"First of all, [the calls] are really late sometimes. You already hit the ball, and then you hear 'out,' which is normally not the way it is with the line umpires. And second of all, some balls were quite, how you say, not a little out. They were [quite] a bit out and they were not called."

The number 17 seed – who suffered her first defeat in nine WTA-level quarter-finals – called for a return of the Hawk-Eye system and line judges, which was replaced at the Australian Open by the electronic system in 2021.

"Honestly, my personal opinion, I wish it would be the Hawk-Eye system and the line umpires, because I feel like that way it's more precise, and much [fewer] mistakes, in my opinion," the 2017 French Open champion added.

"... I think also, that way it looks a little better for me on the court how it is. Not just calling-wise, but in general how the court looks, because with no line umpires, for me, it looks a little empty."

Ostapenko was under no illusion that her own performance had not been at the level it was when she beat Gauff, and suggested that her participation in the mixed doubles late on Monday was a factor.

"I think in general today the level of the match was I think much lower than the previous one," she said. "I felt like me and Coco, we had a really high level of tennis and we played really well. It's a little shame that I couldn't bring this level of the tennis today.

"Obviously [Rybakina] was serving well, but I felt like already in the second set when I had the longer rallies with her, I was winning mostly, so that was my goal to make her play.

"I felt like maybe mixed doubles yesterday was a little bit not the right decision to play that late. But in general I think I can take only positive things out of this week, because it's only the beginning of the season, and if I keep working and keep playing the same way, I think I can be dangerous player."

Victoria Azarenka is through to her first Australian Open semi-final in a decade after beating Jessica Pegula in straights sets.

Azarenka had not reached the last four at Melbourne Park since going on to retain her title in 2013, but ended that wait with an impressive 6-4 6-1 victory over the third seed on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old from Belarus will do battle with Elena Rybakina for a place in the final following a commanding display on Rod Laver Arena.

Azarenka, the 24th seed, stormed into a 3-0 lead and although Pegula got back on serve at 5-3, she was a set down after being broken for a second time.

The experienced Azarenka clinically grasped her first break-point opportunity of the second set but Pegula hit straight back with a break of her own in the next game.

She was unable to turn the tide, though, as an inspired Azarenka dominated the remainder of the set with another two breaks and losing only a further two points behind her serve.

Azarenka, a winner of two mixed doubles grand slam titles since her last major triumph at this tournament 10 years ago, wrapped up the victory in an hour and 37 minutes.

 

Azarenka moves level with Graf

This quarter-final win for the former world number one took her tally of main-draw victories at the Australian Open to 47.

She is now level with the great Steffi Graf in sixth place on the list of the most women’s singles main-draw triumphs in this tournament in the Open Era.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Azarenka – 0/2
Pegula – 3/2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Azarenka– 17/20
Pegula– 19/31

BREAK POINTS WON

Azarenka – 5/13
Pegula – 2/4

Elena Rybakina's Wimbledon success last year is helping her to progress at the Australian Open.

The number 22 seed reached the semi-finals after a convincing 6-2 6-4 victory against Jelena Ostapenko on Tuesday.

Fresh from beating world number one Iga Swiatek in the fourth round, the only thing that slowed Rybakina down against the 17th seed was a 20-minute rain delay in the first set.

She got through her quarter-final in just an hour and 19 minutes of play, and pointed to her experience at Wimbledon, which culminated in her maiden grand slam win.

"Of course I got all the experience at Wimbledon, and it's helping me now this time here in Australia and I know what to expect," she said.

"For sure it's just easier in this case after Wimbledon. [I am] feeling good on the court and just really enjoying every match I'm playing here."

Rybakina's serve was a key weapon again, hitting 11 aces and winning 76 per cent (29 of 38) of points on her first serve.

She now has a total of 29 aces in the tournament, the most by a women's player and more than her previous three Australian Open campaigns combined.

"[It is] tough to say for me, because I think compared to other girls, I'm quite tall," she said when asked if hitting aces are an under-used part of women's tennis. "I mean, there [are] other girls which are also strong and tall, but for sure I think it's not only about the height.

"I'm happy with my serve. I guess everybody else needs to think if, in this aspect, they need to work more or not, because some girls, they are fine maybe not with the speed, but they have good angles on the serve. They are opening the court. I think everybody is different, and everybody just trying to do what's best for them on the court."

The 23-year-old will face either Jessica Pegula or Victoria Azarenka in the final four, and is excited by once again being included in the business end of a grand slam.

"Of course in the beginning of the tournament, it feels like, 'Oh, it's such a long tournament'," she said. "Now it seems already close. I'm trying to focus just on one match.

"For sure it's close, that's why everybody I think is now going to try even harder, fight for every ball. It's only good players left. For sure it's going to be tough matches."

Elena Rybakina is through to the semi-final of the Australian Open after a convincing 6-2 6-4 victory against Jelena Ostapenko on Tuesday.

Rybakina, 25, became the first man or woman from Kazakhstan to win a grand slam when she lifted the Wimbledon trophy in 2022, and she is now two matches away from securing her second.

Against Latvia's Ostapenko, Rybakina had a clear power advantage, illustrated by her 11 aces while conceding only one.

She secured a break in the first game of the match, and quickly grabbed a second to race through the first set in 33 minutes. 

It was Ostapenko who snagged the early break in the second set, but she was unable to consolidate it, failing to hold serve in each of her next two chances to allow Rybakina to claw back in front.

Ostapenko will rue some wasteful play as she finished with more break point opportunities than her victorious opponent, but was only able to convert one of her eight chances.

Rybakina will meet the winner between Jessica Pegula and Victoria Azarenka in the semi-final.

Data Slam: Rybakina adds a new string to her bow

With 29 aces so far, Rybakina leads all women at this year's Australian Open in the category. That figure is a testament to her overall serving improvement, as well as what is now her deepest run down under, with more aces this tournament than her past three Australian Open campaigns combined.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Rybakina – 11/3

Ostapenko – 1/1

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Rybakina – 24/21

Ostapenko – 19/22

BREAK POINTS WON

Rybakina – 4/6

Ostapenko – 1/8

Magda Linette revealed "emotional management" has been key to her best grand slam singles run after upsetting Caroline Garcia to move into the Australian Open quarter-finals.

The unseeded Pole beat fourth seed Garcia 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena on Monday to move into the last eight for the first time.

Linette had never been beyond the third round of a major before this tournament, but she will face Karolina Pliskova for a place in the semi-finals.

The world number 45 will celebrate her 31st birthday next month and feels she is benefitting from being more mature after breaking new ground in her 30th main-draw appearance at a grand slam.

She said: "We worked a lot actually about my emotional management. I think dealing with some kind of losses, but not necessarily match losses, just even throughout the match losses, like small mistakes here and there.

"I think I've never really dealt with them very well. They carried over later on for next point, then another one. It was taking me just too long to get over them.

"I think of course we work so much on my game. We worked a lot on changing the directions and the depth of the ball.

"But I think this approach of really trying to look a little bit different, grow up a little bit emotionally, like that was a big thing for us as a team. All of us approached it. It wasn't only me, but it was the coaches that brought this to me."

Asked how she works on emotional control, Linette added: "I think it's just how do you try to approach the defeats and the mistakes, and are you making the right mistakes, can you then recognise it and move on and deal with them a little bit better. I think I was just getting too negative and too harsh on myself because I feel I'm quite demanding.

"On the other hand when you try to go to that other spectrum, when you're okay with everything, it's also not the best. You really need to stay on top of things and be proactive with it, which ones you're doing good and not.

"I think recognising it, you try again and again and again. Eventually you start recognising which ones were the right ones to deal with.

"It's very difficult. I'm [almost] 31 and I'm just getting it right, so obviously it was one of the toughest things for me. But I'm happy. I'm happy that I have this opportunity, that actually I tapped into something that finally I'm breaking something that you can't really measure it in any way. For me, it was something really difficult to change."

Aryna Sabalenka is hoping she can move to another level in a "new beginning" this year after beating Belinda Bencic to reach a first Australian Open quarter-final.

The fifth seed from Belarus saw off Bencic 7-5 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena on Monday and will face Donna Vekic in the last eight.

Sabalenka has not dropped a set in her four matches in the first grand slam of the year at Melbourne Park and has been installed as the favourite to take the title after Iga Swiatek's exit.

The 24-year-old played in a second successive US Open semi-final last year but has never made it is far as a championship match at a major.

Sabalenka won the Adelaide International 1 before heading to Melbourne and is optimistic she can kick on in 2023.

She said: "I want to believe that the way I'm working right now, the way I'm on the court right now, this is the new beginning, and this is the next step. So I really want to believe that it's going to really help me."

Sabalenka has endured struggles with her serve, but appears to have put that behind her after addressing the issue.

She added: "I worked a lot on my serve. I was keep trying, keep believing, keep changing. Then I worked on my, like, biomechanics.

"Basically that's it. But I was doing everything. I thought it's mentally, but it wasn't. We changed a lot of things on how we work on my serve. We tried to work more, less. We tried so many different things.

"In the end of the season when I start working with the biomechanics guy, he helped me a lot. I think from there, everything started to kind of get on that level."

Croatian Vekic ended 17-year-old Czech Linda Fruhvirtova's impressive run with a 6-2 1-6 6-3 victory.

Elena Rybakina believes she can become the best player in the world if she performs as she did in the first week of the Australian Open after beating Iga Swiatek.

Wimbledon champion Rybakina claimed the scalp of the top seed on Sunday, winning 6-4 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena to reach the quarter-finals.

Swiatek was in a class of her own last year, winning eight titles – including the French Open and the US Open – to firmly establish herself as the best player in the world.

The Pole was the favourite to win the Australian Open for the first time, but the 25-ranked Rybakina sent her packing to set up a showdown with Jelena Ostapenko.

Rybakina made history with her fourth-round win, becoming the first woman representing Kazakhstan to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

The 23-year-old knows she has plenty to work on, but feels she can rise to the top of the rankings if she continues to improve and consistently match the high standards she has set at Melbourne Park.

Asked if she can be the best in the world when she's at her best: "Every opponent is really tough, and for sure for me I think there are still many things to improve.

"If I perform like I did this week and consistently, I will say that I can be number one, I can beat anyone. For now, I need to find my consistency."

Rybakina felt she was rewarded for taking such a positive approach against Swiatek.

"For sure when you play against the number one player, I think you have really nothing to lose. I knew that I had to be aggressive from the first ball because she's a great mover, and she defends really well.

"So I was trying to just attack her from the first ball, and it really worked well."

Coco Gauff revealed her frustration after her unbeaten start to 2013 was ended as the seventh seed bowed out of the Australian Open to Jelena Ostapenko in the fourth round on Sunday.

The 18-year-old American came into the Melbourne event fresh from victory at the Auckland Open but had not dropped a set in her three Australian Open victories, including toppling Emma Raducanu in the second round.

Gauff enjoyed a strong 2022 season that included reaching the US Open quarter-finals and finishing runner-up at the French Open.

But on Sunday, 2017 French Open champion Ostapenko triumphed 7-5 6-3 in one hour and 34 minutes, ending Gauff's Australian Open campaign, leaving the teenager in tears as she explained her frustration.

"I felt really good coming into the tournament, and I still feel good," Gauff told reporters. "I still feel like I've improved a lot but when you play a player like her and she plays really well, you know there's nothing you can do.

"I feel like today I would say nothing because every match you play a part in, but I feel like it was rough, so it's a little bit frustrating on that part."

Ostapenko hit 30 winners compared to Gauff's 21, while the Latvian did commit more unforced errors (27-14).

Gauff generated eight break points throughout the match but only took one, while Ostapenko took all three of hers.

"Today I learned a lot," Gauff said. "A little bit frustrated, but I think I'll rewatch and see where I went wrong and if I did go wrong.

"I feel like from the feedback I've gotten that she just played really well today. She stepped up her game when she needed to, and she held and broke me when she needed to, and I didn't do that."

Ostapenko progresses to the quarter-finals where she will take on 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina who knocked off top seed Iga Swiatek.

Magda Linette made it through to the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time after she beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3 6-4 at the Australian Open.

The result, paired with Iga Swiatek's third-round win on Friday, also means that two Polish female players are through to a grand slam fourth round for the first time in the Open Era since 2008, when Marta Domachowska and Agnieszka Radwanska both reached the same stage of the same tournament.

Indeed, Linette also became just the fourth female Polish player to reach the last 16 at a grand slam in the Open Era after Domachowska, Radwanska and the current world number one Swiatek.

Linette – who had lost each of her previous six grand slam third-round matches – recovered from a break down in the first set against the number 19 seed, while the second went very differently.

The world number 45 raced out to a 4-0 lead and seemed on course to finish the job quickly, before Alexandrova fought back to 5-4.

Linette kept her nerve to serve out the win and set up a fourth-round clash against fourth seed Caroline Garcia, who came from a set down to defeat Laura Siegemund.

Aryna Sabalenka could never previously have been accused of being "boring", but she now wears that tag as a badge of honour and believes it can lead to Australian Open glory.

The world number five from Belarus has found a way to control her previously volatile emotions, cured her torrid serving yips through persistent hard work, and an elusive grand slam might soon be coming her way.

Sabalenka won 6-2 6-3 against Belgian Elise Mertens in an hour and 14 minutes on Margaret Court Arena on Saturday, delivering another dominant performance that means she has yet to drop a set this year.

That includes a fuss-free run to the Adelaide International 1 title and a brisk dash through the opening three rounds at Melbourne Park. She is 14-0 for sets in 2023, and this new version of Sabalenka faces Olympic champion Belinda Bencic next for a place in the quarter-finals.

Sabalenka's talent has never been in doubt, but her temperament has been a sticking point.

Asked what had been key to her sauntering untroubled through the opening rounds this year, Sabalenka said: "I think my calmness on the court. That's pretty much it. I was just ready for everything. Whatever's going to happen on court, I'm ready for that. I think this is the key.

"I wish I would have been like that a few years ago. Finally, I understand what everyone was looking for and asking for.

"I need to be a little bit boring on court. It's still about a lot of positive emotions for me, but I'm trying to stay away from negative and just fight for every point."

She is fighting the inclination to throw her racket and scream when moments go against her, and says staving off the dark thoughts is becoming "a little bit more natural right now".

Last year, Sabalenka served at least 10 double faults in each of her three opening matches in Melbourne, coming from a set down to win each time, before bowing out in round four after a wild tussle with Kaia Kanepi.

Iga Swiatek remains the title favourite with the bookmakers this year, but Sabalenka is second on that list.

"About being the favourite, I don't know," the 24-year-old said. "I mean, it's really good that I'm there, but I better focus on myself, on my game, make sure that my dream will happen."

She is allowing herself to dream, but not to become carried away, knowing this has been her undoing in the past.

"I just have to stay the same, because before, in the second week, I remember I was getting nervous, I was overthinking, over-dreaming," Sabalenka said. "I really believed and believe that the only one thing that was missing was my emotions, that I was too emotional on court.

"I really believe if I'm going to keep the same mindset, the same calm on court, I really believe that I can get it."

Bencic is also enjoying a terrific start to the year, winning the Adelaide International 2 tournament and easing through her opening Australian Open tests.

The Swiss has a new coach in Dmitry Tursunov, and the link-up with the Russian, who briefly worked with Emma Raducanu last season, is bearing fruit.

Sabalenka knows the threat that lies ahead, saying of Bencic: "She's a great fighter, a great player, moving well, hitting the ball quite clean.

"I feel like I have to stay really aggressive in the first few shots, and then the slower ball or shorter ball will come.

"I think it's all about fast feet on the first few shots. I have to be like really a tiger, stay low and ready for that."

Coco Gauff is excited about the prospect of players from the United States winning both singles titles at the same grand slam again following a bright start to the Australian Open for the men.

The last American to win the men's singles crown at any grand slam was Andy Roddick at the 2003 US Open.

The USA is still way out in front for all-time grand slam men's singles titles with 147, though 19 years and counting is comfortably their worst barren spell during the Open Era.

This comes after 2003 was the 15th year in a row that the USA had at least one champion in the men's majors, with the likes of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi both prolific winners.

Of course, the drought did not extend to the women, with Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens and Sofia Kenin all winning at least once since Roddick's success at Flushing Meadows.

But with eight of the last 32 in the men's draw representing the USA, there is a renewed sense of optimism – and that is even accounting for their highest seed, number eight Taylor Fritz, falling in the second round.

Gauff – who beat compatriot Bernarda Pera on Friday – is the USA's next great female hope, and she is looking forward to the day Americans claim a men's and women's double at the same slam.

Asked if there was a refreshing sense of excitement around the men, Gauff said: "Yeah, definitely. I definitely think on the men's side they're thriving.

"It's like eight people in the round of 32 I saw. I think it's incredible. It's just people that you've been rooting for for a long time, and some new faces, too, that people probably haven't been rooting for a long time but fell in love with.

"I'm just excited. On the women's side, we're always like, 'the guys need to catch up, you guys need to put in your work'. I think they're here. I'm hoping that eventually, hopefully soon, we'll have our slam champion on the men's side.

"That would be pretty cool if an American woman and guy could win the same slam. I don't know when the last time that's happened or if it's ever happened. I'll be pretty excited."

Coincidentally, it last happened at Melbourne Park. In 2003, Andre Agassi and Serena Williams were victorious at the Australian Open.

Gauff is not getting carried away, but her perception is there is genuine belief among the men now, which is being fed by unity.

"I definitely think the guys are feeling it," she said. "You can see it. I think it really comes from, not the women, but the same dynamic, where everybody is doing well, so it makes you want to do well.

"We're all not competing with each other but pushing each other. I think that's what the men are having.

"They're competing against each other but also pushing each other to be better. I'm pretty sure all the American guys get along, at least that's what I think."

There were setbacks to American men's title hopes on Friday as Frances Tiafoe and Mackenzie McDonald both lost at the last-32 stage, but there was a hugely notable win too, with Sebastian Korda beating seventh seed, two-time Australian Open runner-up and former US Open champion Daniil Medvedev in straight sets.

Iga Swiatek is growing in confidence by the day after she blew Cristina Bucsa to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open.

The world number one ruthlessly dispatched the Spanish qualifier 6-0 6-1 in just 55 minutes on Margaret Court Arena on Friday.

Swiatek won the French Open for a second time last year before claiming her first US Open title and the 21-year-old is the favourite to be crowned champion at Melbourne Park.

Reflecting on her progress through the draw so far, the Pole believes she is making great strides in her quest for a fourth grand slam triumph.

"I feel I'm more and more confident since day one here," she said. "I feel like I've done so much work to feel more confident, more relaxed on court.

"I'm pretty happy I did it because it's just a little bit easier. Whe you actually play those matches, you can feel the rhythm a little bit more.

"I don't feel like the tournament is going to start now, because first rounds are always challenging.

"I'm trying to treat every match separately. I always try to have the same mindset. I can just say that I feel more confident because I'm played a couple of matches here."

Swiatek will do battle with Elena Rybakina in the fourth round and will ensure she does her homework before facing the Wimbledon champion.

"Tactically, I'm not prepared yet. We played an exhibition in Dubai, [but] it's hard kind of to take a lot from that match," she said.

"I'm pretty sure my coach is going to be ready to give me some tips. We'll see [but] I'm not really thinking about that today."

Two-time grand slam runner-up Ons Jabeur says it is "time to recover and get healthier" after her shock second-round elimination from the Australian Open on Thursday.

The Tunisian second seed committed 50 unforced errors as she was bundled out of the opening major of the 2023 season, losing 6-1 5-7 6-1 loss to Marketa Vondrousova.

The defeat comes after the 28-year-old's outstanding 2022 season where she reached the finals of both the Wimbledon Championships and the US Open.

Cameras spotted Jabeur dropping to her knees in apparent despair in the halls of Rod Laver Arena after leaving the court following her loss to Vondrousova.

The Tunisian skipped the mandatory post-match press conference, but opened up on her emotion and condition on Instagram on Friday.

"Despite the health issues, I will keep fighting and come back stronger and stronger," Jabeur posted on Instagram. "Time to recover and get healthier."

Ons Jabeur became the latest big-name casualty at the Australian Open when she suffered a second-round defeat to Marketa Vondrousova.

Jabeur has been hampered by knee and back injuries at the start of the season and the second seed suffered more pain on Rod Laver Arena, where the excellent Vondrousova sealed a 6-1 5-7 6-1 win in the early hours of Friday morning in Melbourne.

Vondrousova has been troubled by multiple wrist injuries since she was a runner-up at the French Open in 2019, but appears to have put those issues behind her.

The Czech left-hander dominated the first and final sets after Jabeur showed her fighting spirit in the second to force a decider at Melbourne Park.

A runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open last year, tenacious Tunisian Jabeur appeared to be in some pain and struggling for breath during a match in which she made 50 unforced errors.

The world number two struck 27 winners to her opponent's 17, but followed the likes of Rafael Nadal, Casper Ruud and Emma Raducanu in making early exits when she overcooked a forehand.

Vondrousova, ranked 78th after an injury-hit 2022 season in which missed three of the four grand slams, will face compatriot Linda Fruhvirtova in round three.

 

Aryna Sabalenka was stuck in the biggest crisis of her tennis career 12 months ago, but the Belarusian big-hitter has found light at the end of a dark tunnel.

In a second-round win over Wang Xinyu at the 2022 Australian Open, Sabalenka served 19 double faults, and it was remarkable that she still pulled off the victory.

But it was no blip. In four matches, stretching from the 2021 WTA Finals to two tournaments in Adelaide at the beginning of the 2022 season, Sabalenka served a total of 74 double faults.

She considered it a success in round three at the Australian Open when she served 10 double faults against Marketa Vondrousova, such was the extent of her problem.

"I think it's more mental," Sabalenka said at the time, "because I put a lot of pressure on myself about my serve, and the last matches I was trying to control everything on my serve; my legs, my arm, the ball toss. And it was overthinking."

A year on, and Sabalenka is looking a different player, one that perhaps might finally be ready to win a singles grand slam.

That breakthrough might come this fortnight, with Sabalenka in scintillating form on Thursday as she beat Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-1 on Rod Laver Arena.

And here's the thing: she served three aces and not one double fault.

The yips have been cured.

"I worked a lot on my serve," said the 24-year-old after the Rogers match. "Like, really a lot. You can't even imagine how much I worked. I'm just super happy right now that everything is working.

"Oh, my God, I did almost everything to try to fix my serve. The whole year we were trying different things mentally, mental stuff, technique, technical, trying to breathe differently.

"I tried a lot. I watched a lot of different videos, from when I had no problems, when I had problems, trying to understand what is different."

Sabalenka had three double faults in her first-round win over Tereza Martincova, but three is fine, normal even. Zero in round two is something special.

The fifth seed will tackle Belgium's Elise Mertens on Saturday for a place in the last 16, knowing she managed to make it through to round four last year with a malfunctioning game.

The sky is the limit for Sabalenka if the serve is reliable. A three-time slam semi-finalist, her all-round numbers against Rogers were good, with 32 winners against 18 unforced errors a healthy ratio.

She reached the title match at the WTA Finals in November, a big moment at the end of a challenging year. Now a bigger goal is in her sights.

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