Svitolina ends Kostyuk's run
15-year-old Marta Kostyuk has provided the feel-good story of the Australian Open, but her fairy-tale run has come to an end
Elina Svitolina showed no mercy in gruelling conditions as she defeated her youthful compatriot 6-2 6-2 to reach the last sixteen for the first time.
Kostyuk, the youngest player to make it through to the third round of a Grand Slam in over 20 years, showed glimpses of her phenomenal talent but it proved to be one match too far.
The teenager lacked patience from the baseline and her unforced-error count did not make for pleasant reading. She possesses all the raw ingredients required to have a prosperous future though, and her shot-selection will only improve with time.
Svitolina stated earlier this week that she was dealing with an unspecified injury, however she showed no sign of discomfort as she took less than an hour to secure her spot in the business end of the championships.
The No.4 seed dropped serve in the opening game of the contest and lost the first six points, but once she settled, the outcome was never in any serious doubt.
“I’ve never been further than the third round, so it feels great,” beamed Svitolina, post-match. “It was sad that I had to play against a Ukrainian girl as it always tough to play against someone from the same country, but I’m happy to still be alive in this tournament."
The 23-year-old paid tribute to her younger opponent, and believes this won’t be the last time we see Kostyuk competing on the big stage.
"The first time I heard about her was when she won here as a junior last year,” added Svitolina, who is yet to taste defeat this year. “She is a great fighter and always fights until the end, and as we can see, she has a bright future.
“We are definitely going to hear a lot more about her."
Svitolina will take on an unlikely fourth round opponent on Sunday. Qualifier, Denisa Allertová, ranked No.130 in the world, has gone further than ever before at a major after defeating Magda Linette 6-1 6-4.
Also on day four, birthday girl, Petra Martic, won an epic contest with Luksika Kumkhum 6-3 3-6 7-5. It’s the first time the Croatian had advanced into the round of 16 at Melbourne Park.
“It was really tough out there,” explained the 27-year-old. “I was struggling a few days ago mentally, but I was better prepared for the conditions this time – although today it was just about trying your best and surviving until the end.”