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Australian Open: Linette knocks out 4th seed Garcia, the women’s quarter-finals are set
The Pole will play Czech Karolina Pliskova, the No 30 seed, in her first Grand Slam quarter-final
No one who follows tennis would be surprised to see a Polish woman in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open women’s singles draw. But not many would have wagered that the Pole would be world No 45 Madga Linette and not top-ranked three-time Grand Slam champion Iga Swiatek.
Linette, who had never reached the fourth round at a Major in 29 previous attempts, got off that hump this fortnight and on Monday, she went one better to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final with a straight sets upset over fourth seed Caroline Garcia (7-6 (3), 6-4), who has been playing the best tennis of her life over the past eight months.
The Pole, aged 30, was in no mood to follow the script as she knocked out Garcia in one hour and 57 minutes on Rod Laver Arena as former world No 2 Agnieszka Radwanska cheered her on from her player’s box.
“I wasn’t that completely far away”, Linette said about achieving success at the Slams. “In Wimbledon I was quite close one year to get through to the second week when I was kind of having a break up in the third set against Paula. When I was at the Roland Garros, I was set up against Ons. I’ve been in the third rounds for so many times that I knew I’m capable. Then when I start beating players like Ash Barty and then Ons, that kind of gave me an extra kick that really showed me that I can really go far in those tournaments. I think it was more frustrating than I would wonder or worry about it. I think it was just more frustration why I can’t do it.”
The Pole revealed that working on her emotional management has been one of the keys to her improved run of form in recent months.
“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,” Linette added. “I think I’ve never really deal 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.”
Australian Open women’s quarter-final line-up
-  Elena Rybakina vs.  Jelena Ostapenko
-  Jessica Pegula vs.  Victoria Azarenka
-  Karolina Pliskova vs. Magda Linette
-  Aryna Sabalenka vs. Donna Vekic
The Pole defeated three seeds to get there. She had won against Egyptian Mayar Sherif (7-5, 6-1), Estonian Anett Kontaveit, the No 16 seed (3-6, 6-3, 6-4) and Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova, the No 19 seed (6-3, 6-4) earlier in the tournament.
She next meets former world No 1 Czech Karolina Pliskova, the No 30 seed, for a place in her first Grand Slam semi-final.
Linette’s qualification completes the Australian Open quarter-finals line-up on the women’s side. Three former Grand Slam winners are still remaining (two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka, former Roland-Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko, and reiginig Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina).
Also in the last eight are two of the most in-form players, Aryna Sabalenka (who has not lose a set in eight matches in 2023) and Jessica Pegula, the highest seed still in the draw.
Former world No 1 Karolina Pliskova, playing some of the best tennis on her life at the moment, is also in the mix as she tries to reach the third Major final of her career (US Open 2016, Wimbledon 2021).
Donna Vekic and Linette are the two challengers, but without doubt will be ready to compete for the greatest trophy of their life as the Croat clearly said in an interview this week to Tennis Majors.
Australian Open (Grand Slam), other fourth round results (Melbourne Park, hard, USD 24,297,942, most recent results first):
- Karolina Pliskova beat Shuai Zhang (23): 6-0, 6-4
- Donna Vekic beat Linda Fruhvirtova: 6-2, 1-6, 6-3
- Aryna Sabalenka (5) beat Belinda Bencic (12): 7-5, 6-2
- Victoria Azarenka (24) beat Lin Zhu: 4-6, 6-1, 6-4
- Jessica Pegula (3) beat Barbora Krejcikova (20): 7-5, 6-2
- Jelena Ostapenko (17) beat Coco Gauff (7): 7-5, 6-3
- Elena Rybakina (22) beat Iga Swiatek (1): 6-4, 6-4