Australian Open 2023: “Swiatek will be at the top for a long time” | Sports

Cristina Bucsa, 25, says that what she most wants to do when she returns home, after the Australian individual adventure is over (but not yet the doubles one), is to see her mother and that the duel against Iga Swiatek (6- 0 and 6-1 after 55 minutes) has served as a valuable lesson. “I like challenges, and she has made it very difficult for me. She has taught me that I have a huge room for improvement and above all to improve intensity, because she gives the ball a lot of intensity with each shot. Yes, yes, she is a machine, ”explains the Cantabrian, subjected to that corrosive sway exerted by the number one in the world, a software scheduled for demolition.

is the Swiatek’s law, physical marvel that squeezes the rivals until they run out of breath. “I saw that she was taking me backwards, and nothing that the ball fell short of me, she dominated the point”, continues the Spanish, in an experience that throughout the last year all the players who have challenged have gone through to the polish; Specifically, the almost 80 opponents who passed through her hands last year, of which only nine managed what today is little less than a chimera, defeating the current governor of the women’s circuit.

“I have tried to vary it a bit, and I have managed to scratch some points there”, answers Bucsa, whose smile does not disappear and who has managed to cross the barrier of top-100 of the WTA thanks to his tour in Melbourne. “But today has been long for me. She came crushed from the match against Bianca [Andreescu, campeona del US Open 2019] and I have noticed it, but even so I have loved playing against her; Although the result has not been very good, I have tried to enjoy it ”, continues the tennis player, surrendered this Friday by the candidate who has really applied to take over.

On one side Ashleigh Barty, retired since March, Swiatek immediately took command and has not let go. In 2020, she appeared as a specialist on clay with the Roland Garros title, but she has also taken over the asphalt and in addition to winning the last US Open, she is emerging as the undisputed favorite to succeed in Australia, where she reached the semifinals in 2021. At the moment, he has resolved his commitments -Niemeier, Osorio and Bucsa- without getting any scratches, and he will face Elena Rybakina with a confidence index through the roof, no matter how much he sometimes feels like a “robot” when he is required to win or win no matter the context.

guff? Sabalenka? Jabeur?

“I have had to work a lot to be like this now, I feel that I have acquired a different rhythm”, warns the one from Warsaw. “When she left [Barty] I felt great motivation”, she continued, after the Australian – winner of three grands, the same as her successor owns today – pointed out her as the strongest aspirant to occupy the throne and set the pace in the new stage. “I never thought it would be possible to win a Grand Slam,” she admits, having already conquered Paris (2020 and 2022) and New York (2022), with Melbourne now between her eyebrows.

Cristina Bucsa hits the ball during the match.
Cristina Bucsa hits the ball during the match.MARTIN KEEP (AFP)

Swiatek’s tennis (21 years old) is expanding and in addition to controlling the codes of the earth, it has become a guarantee on cement. Last year, five of the eight trophies she lifted came from asphalt and she is the player to beat on the shaky women’s scene. While some come and others go, she is the only one that offers regularity and the one that best processes the vertigo of the top. She rises up, reaffirms herself and the polish multiplies, while she looks for some dance partner or rivals that can make her uncomfortable and prevent the monologue. Lost several tennis players called to the succession, she is the challenge.

“It’s hard to tell. I think that Coco Gauff is taking steps, he is progressing. If I had to choose, I would say that she is going to be at the top for a long time ”, John McEnroe points out to this newspaper; “Apart from her, there are a number of players who go like a roller coaster. We say: ‘very good, Aryna Sabalenka is going to win a big one’, and suddenly she spends a year struggling with her service; Now she looks like she’s back on track. Ons Jabeur appears and we wonder if he is going to be there, but it is hard to decide. For me, Swiatek has to focus on his own game and take care of the different aspects. I think he’s going to win many more big ones, but he shouldn’t worry about the others.”

MEDVEDEV, NORRIE, TIAFOE AND SAKKARI, OUT

AC | Melbourne

Since he gave way in the final of last year against Rafael Nadal, the Russian Daniil Medvedev has not finished straightening the course. Although he started 2023 inspired, offering a good dose of play in his first appearances, this Friday he was defeated by the promising Sebastian Korda in the third round: 7-6 (7), 6-3 and 7-6 (4) .

In this way, for the first time since 2006 neither of the two finalists of the last edition will appear in the round of 16 table. The American will do it, a tennis player in a growing phase who, if he gives a new stretch, will consolidate himself as one of the bulwarks of the circuit in the medium term.

Apart from the defeat of the Russian, also a finalist in the 2021 edition, the day brought two even more surprising starts, that of the American Frances Tiafoe (6-3, 6-4, 3-6 and 7-6(9) favorable to Karen Khachanov) and that of the British Cameron Norrie (6-7 (8), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 and 6-4 for Jiri Lehecka).

In the female key, the Chinese Lin Zhu gave the bell of the day by eliminating one of the candidates for the title, the Greek Maria Sakkari (7-6 (3), 1-6 and 6-4). Meanwhile, the Americans Coco Gauff (6-3 and 6-2 to Bernarda Pera) and Jessica Pegula (6-0 and 6-2 to Marta Kostyuk) advanced steadily.

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