The Australian Open went three days without a top-10 women’s player losing. To start day four, two of them were upset within 10 minutes of each other.
No. 3 Garbiñe Muguruza and No. 6 Anett Kontaveit, who met in November’s WTA Finals final, lost the first matches on the two main show courts Thursday, the last day of second-round play.
French veteran Alizé Cornet dispatched Muguruza, a two-time major champion who was a set from winning the 2020 Australian Open, 6-3, 6-3.
Danish 19-year-old Clara Tauson, a former junior No. 1, took out Kontaveit 6-2, 6-4.
The Spaniard Muguruza continued her maddening Grand Slam career.
She won the 2016 French Open and 2017 Wimbledon, plus made two other major finals and twice beat a top-ranked Serena Williams at Roland Garros. She also lost in the first or second round of a major at least once in all 11 years of her career, including 10 times in 22 starts since her first Slam title.
Cornet’s biggest claim to fame was thrice beating a top-ranked Williams in 2014, including at Wimbledon. The 31-year-old has been on the cusp of breaking through — reaching No. 11 in the world in 2009 and making the fourth round of every major, but never a quarterfinal. She is now ranked 61st.
Cornet next gets No. 29 seed Tamara Zidanšek of Slovenia or Brit Heather Watson, who is ranked 94th.
Kontaveit, the highest-ranked Estonian in history, won three tournaments last fall, and nearly a fourth at the WTA Finals, to break into the top 10 for the first time and finish the year at No. 7. Her form continued this season, reaching the semifinals of an Australian Open lead-up event.
Tauson won the 2019 Australian Open girls’ title a month after turning 16, then won two WTA tournaments last year. American Coco Gauff is the only player in the top 200 who is younger than Tauson.
Tauson next gets 27th-seeded American Danielle Collins.
No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka headlines the bottom half of the draw but has struggled with her serve in Australia. The only other single-digit seed left in the bottom half is No. 7 Iga Swiatek, who has dropped seven games in two matches.
Top-ranked Ash Barty and defending champion Naomi Osaka could meet in the fourth round in the top half.
Australian Open Day 4 Schedule
Thursday’s highlight matches to close out the second round include No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia facing Australian crowd favorite Nick Kyrgios. Medvedev, the 2021 U.S. Open champion, became the clear tournament favorite after top-ranked Novak Djokovic was deported.
Elsewhere, the highest-ranked American man, No. 20 seed Taylor Fritz, faces countryman Frances Tiafoe for a spot in round three.
The women’s match du jour is a sentimental one: Aussie Sam Stosur, the 2011 U.S. Open winner, is playing her final singles tournament. The 37-year-old is an underdog against No. 10 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia but will have tremendous support.
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Australian Open: Women’s draw opens up after high seeds upset originally appeared on NBCSports.com