AO 2024 – Day 7: Fearless Noskova stuns Swiatek

The world No.1 has been toppled on another box office billing at Melbourne Park.

Linda Noskova Iga Swiatek Australian Open 2024©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

Just when you think Australian Open 2024 can't get more dramatic, think again.

Another batch of second week tickets were up for grabs Down Under, here are the main headlines from a scintillating Saturday…

The conveyor belt of Czech tennis stars has produced another hit with Linda Noskova.

The 19-year-old broke new ground in Grand Slams to end world No.1 Iga Swiatek's title hunt 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 for a fourth-round spot.

The top seed bemoaned a lack of "intuition" in her play, in contrast, Swiatek hailed Noskova's "proactive" play which yielded 35 winners to steal away a seismic shock on Rod Laver Arena.

"I'm just really kind of exhausted mentally and physically," said Noskova with a smile, becoming the first teenager to defeat the world No.1 in Melbourne since Amelie Mauresmo ousted Lindsay Davenport in 1999.

"But I think it was an unbelievable match for me. Playing on such a court for a first time, playing with Iga for a second time, I really wanted to win this, so I'm just glad that I did it."

Dedicated tennis fans won't be surprised by Noskova's emergence.

The Australian Open debutant won the Roland-Garros girls' title as a 16-year-old in 2021 and the following summer booked her maiden major main draw by navigating through qualifying in Paris. Ever since that Parisian success, the Czech has been brimming with belief.

"I just know that when I'm going to be aggressive, I can play with anyone," stated the world No.50.

"I know that I have improved a lot in the last year and a half year. I just believed my game tonight. I didn't really come to that court with the thought of, 'I have nothing to lose.' I took it very seriously. It was like a match as any other."

Elina Svitolina expects an "exciting, big challenge" in the Last 16 over the net from Noskova. The Ukrainian needed a little over an hour to navigate past Viktorija Golubic 6-2, 6-3.

Land of opportunity

The top half of the women's draw has evolved into an unexpected, yet versatile group.

Elena Rybakina's conqueror Anna Blinkova was denied progress 7-6(1), 6-4 by Jasmine Paolini. The energetic No.26 seed advances to tackle world No.75 Anna Kalinskaya for a spot in the elite eight.

Qualifier Dayana Yastremska posted her finest Grand Slam showing to date 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 to move into the second week.

The Ukrainian will need to be sharp against 2012-13 champion Victoria Azarenka, who is the only Grand Slam champion left in the top half of the draw.

Dodin in the zone

The last Frenchwoman standing is Oceane Dodin.

The 27-year-old also chalked up a career-best major move with a 6-2, 6-4 scoreboard versus compatriot Clara Burel.

"I think mentally I'm normal stressed, because my match before I was so much stressful," said the world No.95, discussing her Melbourne success.

"Now I'm just trying to keep focus on my game and have a lot of confidence. I think just mentally I'm just better."

Dodin will meet China's No.12 seed Zheng Qinwen in the fourth round. The No.12 seed snatched away a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6[10-8] victory over countrywoman Wang Yafan.

Borges and Cazaux keep flying

There were also scenes of jubilation on the men's side, with Nuno Borges and Arthur Cazaux compiling dream runs Down Under.

Nuno Borges became the first ever Portuguese man to take an Australian Open fourth round ticket courtesy of a 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(6) shock against No.13 seed Grigor Dimitrov.

"Honestly, I'm still processing it. I still can't believe it. I think my reaction at the end was very honest," stated the world No.69, fulfilling his potential following a strong college career in the USA. 

"I wasn't ready to win this match when it started. I took it one set at a time, stayed in the moment, kept playing, pushed. Did unreal to take my opportunities, and somehow I'm here today with a win."

Borges will duel with 2021-22 runner-up Daniil Medvedev in the Last 16.

In the second round, Medvedev erased a two-sets deficit to win for the third time in his career, but had a far smoother progression on Saturday with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 passage past Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Four years ago, Frenchman Cazaux was a finalist in the boys' singles final. Back under the spotlight in Melbourne, the 21-year-old is thriving, making up for lost time after a succession of injuries and setbacks.

Cazaux moved into a maiden major second week 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 in an emphatic victory facing Tallon Griekspoor. He's now certainly catching up with his peers.

"Of course, there are so many players much better in the ranking than me, young players like Carlos (Alcaraz), Holger (Rune), Jannik (Sinner), and Arthur Fils also," said the world No.122.

"I know them, because we were in juniors together. Yes, they are superstars now, so it's crazy for them.

"Me, I did my trip. I had many injuries, and then I did my best. I'm here to give everything on court. Now I'm not feeling any pressure."

Cazaux's breakout Grand Slam continues with a step up against No.9 seed Hubert Hurkacz. The Pole found the answers over four sets to halt Ugo Humbert.

Alcaraz on the charge

World No.2 Carlos Alcaraz gave his current form in Melbourne "probably 7, 8 [out of 10]" as he competes with a spring in his step.

The 20-year-old was leading Chinese wild card Shang Juncheng 6-1, 6-1, 1-0, before the youngster retired with a right leg injury.

Alcaraz will battle with Miomir Kecmanovic in the Last 16. The Serbian has now prevailed in two consecutive five-set tussles over seeds Jan-Lennard Struff and Tommy Paul to advance.

"It's definitely not going to be easy. He's been playing amazing," said Kecmanovic, ahead of playing Alcaraz. "When it's tough moments, when it's close, he always goes for it. So that's something to watch out. I'm definitely going to play freely. I'm going to go for it."

Brit Cameron Norrie earned his Last 16 place over four sets with Casper Ruud and will vie for the quarter-finals in a second week match-up with No.6 seed Alexander Zverev.