Grand Slam Drama: Rybakina’s Epic Exit, Raducanu and Rune Shocked in Australian Open 2024

Grand Slam Drama: Rybakina's Epic Exit, Raducanu and Rune Shocked in Australian Open 2024

Australian Open 2024: 3rd seed Elena Rybakina crashed out in the second round after losing to Anna Blinkova in the longest tie-breakers in women’s singles history in Grand Slams. Emma Raducanu and Holger Rune also exited the Slam in the second round.

It was an evening session of upsets in Melbourne as 3rd seed Elena Rybakina, former US Open champion Emma Raducanu and 8th seed Holger Rune were shown the door in their respective second-round matches of Australian Open 2024. While Raducanu battled an injury scare, Rybakina and Rune were outclassed by spirited opponents who stole the show on Thursday, January 18.

Elena Rybakina, who was one of the favourites to win the Australian Open after reaching the final last year in Melbourne, was part of the longest tie-breaker in women’s singles Grand Slam history as she battled over 42 points and 32 minutes against 25-year-old Anna Blinkova. Rybakina was not able to handle her nerves and fluffed umpteen opportunities against an inspired Blinkova as she lost the tie-breaker 20-22.

Anna Blinkova notched up her first win over a top 3 opponent and reached the Australian Open third round for the first time in her career. The 25-year-old played fearless tennis against Elena Rybakina despite dropping the second set after stealing early momentum. Blinkova got the job done in 2 hours and 46 minutes, completing a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (20) win.

Raducanu, Rune shown the door

It was a shocking performance from Elena Rybakina, especially in the tie-breaker as the former Wimbledon champion was not able to take her chances. After having headed into the tournament with a win in Brisbane International, Rybakina failed to live up to expectations in Melbourne.

Emma Raducanu’s journey at the Australian Open came to an unexpected halt as she faced a challenging second-round defeat against Wang Yafan. The match was a true test of resilience, with Raducanu battling not only her opponent but also illness and gusty conditions in Melbourne. She showed signs of a comeback after recovering from a break down in the second set, but her physical struggles became evident when she required medical attention for sickness.

Ultimately, Raducanu’s unforced errors tipped the balance, and she succumbed to a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 loss. Holger Rune’s aspirations at the Australian Open were dashed by the remarkable performance of French wildcard Arthur Cazaux. Rune, who had previously reached the fourth round, was expected to advance further in the competition.

However, Cazaux, showcasing his talent in just his third-ever tour-level win, emerged victorious with a scoreline of 7-6(4), 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. The match saw Cazaux display a level of tennis that belied his wildcard entry, stunning the 8th seed Rune and the spectators alike. Rune’s defeat was a significant upset, as he was unable to replicate the form that had taken him deep into the tournament the previous year.

Shrabani Sarkar

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