15-year-old falls, Wozniacki advances in Aussie Open

The youngest match winner at the Australian Open in 22 years finally saw her run end Friday in the third round.

Marta Kostyuk, a 15-year-old Ukrainian, lost 6-2, 6-2 to fourth-seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina at Melbourne, Australia.

“How much (do) you have to pay Svitolina to have (a) one-hour lesson? I got it for free,” said Kostyuk, who cried after the 59-minute defeat. “Well, she’s a great player, but what I learn is that you can play against everyone. I had the chances, but because I thought, like, ‘She is incredible’, like, ‘She’s a god,’ I cannot do anything against her, that’s the problem.”

Later Friday under the lights at Rod Laver Arena, No. 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark easily moved into the fourth round for the first time since 2013 with a 6-4, 6-3 win over 30th-seeded Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in 86 minutes.

The victory wasn’t a joyous occasion for Svitolina, 23.

“It was sad playing another Ukrainian girl, same country is always tough,” Svitolina said of Kostyuk. “She did an amazing job here.

“Winning one match in qualifying is already good. Winning two matches is, like, awesome. Three matches, passing qualifying, is something unbelievable, and then beating two girls playing (at a) good level (in the main draw).

“I think she (will) remember this moment for all her life. So that’s why, you know, it was very special. Of course, it was a little bit, like, strange for me to play against her in the third round, but (at) the same time, it’s, you know, I think it’s very special. Yeah, a moment for both of us.”

The last player to win a main-draw Australian Open match at an age as young as Kostyuk was Martina Hingis, who earned one victory at age 14 in 1995 and then reached the quarterfinals the next year.

In late match Friday, seventh-seeded Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia was eliminated in the third round by No. 32 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia at Margaret Court Arena. Kontaveit scored a 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 victory at Melbourne Park over the French Open champion.

Svitolina advances to meet the Czech Republic’s Denisa Allertova, a 6-1, 6-4 winner over Poland’s Magda Linette. Allertova, a 23-year-old ranked 130th in the world, is in the fourth round of a Grand Slam event for the first time.

Petra Martic of Croatia celebrated her 27th birthday with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 over Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum.

Martic’s fourth-round opponent will be Belgium’s Elise Mertens, who defeated France’s Alize Cornet 7-5, 6-4. Cornet sat on the court and then went prone due to the extreme heat in the second set. However, she got up and finished the match.

“It’s very hot,” Mertens said post-match. “For both of us it’s the same. All credit to her for keeping it up so good.”

Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova, the 19th seed, won her third-round match, beating Ukraine’s Katerina Bondarenko 7-5, 3-6, 6-1. Rybarikova next will play Wozniacki, the former world No. 1.

In her previous match, Wozniacki saved two match points after trailing 5-1 in the third set.

“Right now I’m playing with house money,” Wozniacki said in her post-match interview on court. “Right now I’ve got nothing to lose … I got a second chance and I’m going to try to take it and see how far I can go.”

–Field Level Media

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