Australian Open: Seeds Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff crash out while Felix Auger-Aliassime completes ‘Netflix Curse’
Fancied trio Iga Swiatek, Coco Gauff and Felix Auger-Aliassime crashed out of the Australian Open on Sunday as favourites continued to fall and the so-called “Netflix Curse” claimed its final victim.
World No1 Swiatek suffered a surprise loss to Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, while seventh seed Gauff also succumbed in straight sets to her lower-ranked opponent, Jelena Ostapenko.
Men’s sixth seed Auger-Aliassime’s four-set defeat by world No71 Jiri Lehecka, meanwhile, means that none of the 10 players to be featured in new Netflix tennis docuseries Break Point made it to the second week of the Australian Open.
US and French Open champion Swiatek admitted to feeling the pressure of being the favourite in Melbourne in her 6-4 6-4 loss to Kazakhstan’s Rybakina.
“I maybe wanted it a little bit too hard, so I’m going to try to chill out a little bit more,” said the Pole. “I felt the pressure, and I felt that I don’t want to lose instead of I want to win. So I think that’s what I should focus on in the next couple of weeks.”
Swiatek’s exit means that the top two seeds in both the men’s and women’s draws have failed to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in the open era.
Gauff, who beat Britain’s Emma Raducanu in round two, lost 7-5 6-3 to former French Open champion Ostapenko. American third seed Jessica Pegula is the highest-ranked woman left at the Australian Open after she beat Barbora Krejcikova.
Czech Lehecka, 21, followed up his win over Britain’s Cameron Norrie and completed the Netflix Curse by dispatching Auger-Aliassime 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-3).
The Canadian followed fellow stars of the programme Maria Sakkari, Ons Jabeur, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Matteo Berrettini, Casper Ruud and Taylor Fritz in losing in Melbourne. The other three, Nick Kyrgios, Ajla Tomljanovic and Paula Badosa were ruled out by injury.