Karolina Pliskova joined the ever-growing list of top women’s seeds stunned early at the 2020 Australian Open as she went down to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Saturday.
Second seeded Pliskova was taken to two tie-breakers by Russia’s Pavlyuchenkova and lost both to bow out of the competition in the third round, joining the likes of Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams and Madison Keys on the way out.
The Czech had gone into the match having never lost to Pavlyuchenkova in their previous meetings but the former world number 13 overcame a couple of second set points to turn things around in her favour. Pavlyuchenkova will now be attempting to make it to her third Australian Open quarterfinals.
Having won the Brisbane International title earlier this month, Pliskova was an overwhelming favourite to not just win this match but also go deeper into the second week. With many of her compatriots out already, Pliskova would have even harboured hopes of winning her maiden Grand Slam title but Pavlyuchenkova ended her hopes, winning 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3) to advance to the fourth round.
And joining Pliskova on the sidelines is Belinda Bencic who was stunned 6-0, 6-1 by Anett Kontaveit in another third round match at the Margaret Court Arena.
The sixth seeded Bencic was a semi-finalist at the US Open last year and a strong contender to make it as far as the quarterfinal at the very least but lasted just 44 minutes on court against her Estonian opponent.
And the 28th-seeded Kontaveit, who has never gotten past the fourth round at any Grand Slam before this will now take on Iga Świątek in her pre-quarterfinal. Świątek overcame the US Open quarterfinalist and another fancied player in the form of Donna Vekic in her third round match.
Świątek won 7-5, 6-3 against Vekic, after the latter had beaten Maria Sharapova and Alize Cornet in her first couple of rounds. Świątek, an unseeded Pole who has reached the fourth round of only one Grand Slam before this – 2019 French Open – hadn’t participated in any of the tournaments before the start of the Australian Open but defeated Timea Babos and Carla Suarez Navarro to make it that far.
The 18 year-old is one of two teenagers left in the women's singles draw at #AO2020, alongside Coco Gauff.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 25, 2020