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Jessica Pegula loses at the Australian Open, while Iga Swiatek escapes fear

highest ranked Iga Swiatek defeated 2022 runner-up Danielle Collins 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 on Thursday to move to the third round of the Australian Open after trailing 4-0 early in the third set.

Swiatek emerged victorious in a match that saw a lot of momentum flip. After bouncing back from an early break and led by a set and a break, the American player mounted a comeback to win the second set and sprint to a 4-1 lead with two service breaks in the third set.

Collins led 5-2 after three straight points, but Swiatek withstood constant pressure from her opponent’s strong groundstrokes until she turned the tide with a five-game roll that won the match.

“Oh my God. I don’t even know,” Regarding how she returned, Swiatek said, “Honestly, I was on the airport already. But I wanted to fight to the end.”

“I’m really proud of myself, because it wasn’t easy.”

In the previous game, Collins mounted another comeback, saving two match points that Swiatek held at 15–40 and earning a game point with a signature forehand winner deep to Swiatek’s backhand side.

However, Collins’ forehand long and backhand wide gave Swiatek a third match point. This time, she wasted no time in converting the point with a backhand winner that went down the line to finish the match in three hours and fourteen minutes.

Not long later, Collins declared that 2024 would be her final touring season.

Both women defeated former Australian Open champions in the first round of one of the tournament’s most difficult opening rounds; Collins defeated 2016 champion Angelique Kerber, and Swiatek defeated 2020 champion Sofia Kenin.

Collins left Melbourne Park far more quickly than normal to head to a news conference when Swiatek was completing her on-court TV interview.

“Yeah, I lost 6-4 in the third to one of the best players in the world,” remarked Collins. “And she played some great tennis. (I) left it all on the court.”

There was a 25-minute delay in the first set due to organizers having to close Rod Laver’s roof due to a strong downpour at 3:00 PM.

Swiatek trailed 5-1 and 40-15 in the second set, but he won three of the next four games to close off the opening set. Before Collins sealed the deal, she saved five set points, requiring a decisive third set.

Defeating Collins in the semifinals here two years prior, Swiatek found himself down two service breaks once more and in need of assistance.

“She played just perfectly, but it would be hard for anybody to keep that level,” she stated. “So I wanted to be ready when more mistakes are going to come from the other side. And I just wanted to push her and I did that at the end.”

The four-time major champion will next play Linda Noskova, ranked No. 50, who defeated American qualifier Kessler McCartney 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 in a match between two women making their debuts at the Australian Open main tournament.

Clara Burel defeated fifth-ranked Jessica Pegula, a quarterfinalist the previous three years, 6-4, 6-2. It was Pegula’s first Grand Slam exit since 2021, when she was eliminated in the second round of Wimbledon.

The 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens defeated Daria Kasatkina, ranked No. 14, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

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