Australian Open: Elena Rybakina suffers shock loss after missing out on six MPs

Rybakina loses to Blinkova in what has been the biggest upset of this year's Australian Open.

by Dzevad Mesic
Australian Open: Elena Rybakina suffers shock loss after missing out on six MPs
© Getty Images Sport - Cameron Spencer

Elena Rybakina suffered a shock Australian Open second-round loss after losing an absolute thriller to Anna Blinkova, while Emma Raducanu picked up a surprise defeat in the second round at Melbourne Park.

Blinkova, ranked at No. 57 in the world, stunned 2023 Australian Open runner-up Rybakina 6-4 4-6 7-6 (20). Rybakina, who was widely considered one of the top favorites for the Australian Open title, is now packing from Melbourne very early. 

On the other side, Raducanu picked up a disappointing round-two exit at Melbourne Park after 94th-ranked Wang beat the Briton 6-4 4-6 6-4. Although Raducanu is currently ranked lower than Wang, the 2021 US Open champion entered the match playing well and she was regarded as the favorite against Wang. 

How Rybakina lost to Blinkova?

Elena Rybakina got off to a slow start to the match, getting broken in the third game. Up by an early break, Blinkova didn't allow Rybakina any break points in the remainder of the first set to clinch the opener. 

After losing the first set, Rybakina also lost her serve in the third game of the second set. Down by a set and a break, Rybakina finally started to play better as the third-seeded Kazakh broke Blinkova in the fourth and 10th games to win the second set and force a decider.

Elena Rybakina
Elena Rybakina© Getty Images Sport - Kelly Defina

Just when it seemed that Rybakina was starting to play better, she fell down by a break in the third game of the third set. In the seventh game, Rybakina saved a break point to cut the deficit to 3-4 before breaking back Blinkova in the following game to tie the set to four games apiece. 

In the next two games, two more breaks were seen as Blinkova broke Rybakina for a 5-4 lead before failing to serve out for the match in the 10th game. The same scenario happened in the 11th and 12th games as Blinkova had a 6-5 lead but then missed out on a match point in the 12th game as Rybakina managed to force a match tie-break. 

Blinkova saves Rybakina's six match points in a tie-break that lasted 31 minutes

Midway through the tie-break, Rybakina had a 7-6 lead before Blinkova won the next three points to go 9-7 up and create two more match points. But Blinkova missed out on those two match points, as well as her fourth and fifth match points at 10-9 and 11-10, respectively. 

After saving a total of five match points, Rybakina earned her first match point at 12-11 - but the Kazakh didn't manage to convert it after Blinkova hit a forehand winner. However, not realizing her first match point didn't impact Rybakina, who hit a service winner for a 13-12 lead. 

On her second match point, Rybakina sent her backhand into the net and then also made an unforced forehand error in the following point as Blinkova again took a lead at 14-13. But Rybakina responded extremely well as she hit two good serves to win the next two points and go 15-14 up. But then, Rybakina missed out on her third match point and also her fourth match point at 16-15. Blinkova then earned her seventh match point at 17-16 - but again didn't convert it. Then, Rybakina didn't realize her fifth and sixth match points at 18-17 and 19-18. 

Elena Rybakina
Elena Rybakina© Getty Images Sport - Kelly Defina

Having her eighth match point at 20-19, Blinkova didn't convert it but won the following point for a 21-20 lead and her ninth match point. Finally, Blinkova managed to realize her ninth match point and create the biggest upset of this year's Australian Open.

Elena Rybakina and Anna Blinkova
Elena Rybakina and Anna Blinkova© Getty Images Sport - Cameron Spencer

Raducanu loses to Wang

Raducanu made a very slow start to the match, losing her serve in the third and seventh games. Serving for the set in the eighth game, Wang failed to close out the first set but managed to get it done two games later, when she was serving for the opener for the second time. 

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

After winning the first set, Wang also opened an early 2-0 second-set lead. Down by a set and a break, Raducanu broke Wang in the fourth and eighth games to take a 5-3 lead. Raducanu failed to serve out for the second set in the ninth game but still won the set after breaking Wang again in the 10th game, the game in which the Chinese was serving to stay in the set.

Wang bounced back impressively after losing the second set, breaking Raducanu in the first game of the third set. Raducanu had her chances to get back into the set but the Briton missed out on three break points in the second game and four more break points two games later. Raducanu paid the price for failing to get the break back as Wang didn't face any break points in the rest of the third set and realized her first match point in the 10th game. 

Australian Open Elena Rybakina