Iga Swiatek hilariously recalled her 2017 junior loss against Elena Rybakina as she remembers feeling stressed out because there was a camera live-streaming their match on the internet. Swiatek, 21, is set to meet 23-year-old Rybakina in the Australian Open round-of-16.
In the final of the 2017 Trofheo Bonfiglio event in Milan, Rybakina defeated Swiatek to win the title. "The final of Trofeo Bonfiglio on clay. I lost. I was so stressed that there was a live streaming on Internet, and I just couldn't focus because of that (laughs).
It's so surreal right now," Swiatek recalled, per WTA Insider.
Swiatek's memories of facing Rybakina in juniors: "The final of Trofeo Bonfiglio on clay. I lost.
"I was so stressed that there was a live streaming on Internet, and I just couldn't focus because of that (laughs).
Swiatek not taking Rybakina lightly
Even though Swiatek is the favorite to beat Rybakina, she insists she definitely won't be taking the Kazakh for granted at Melbourne Park.
"[Rybakina] really is a solid player. Since we played juniors, I knew that she's kind of going in the right direction. With her serve, she can do a lot," Swiatek said of Rybakina, per the WTA website. When Swiatek and Rybakina meet at the Australian Open, it will be their second meeting on the main level.
In 2021 Ostrava, Swiatek defeated Rybakina. This past December, Rybakina defeated Swiatek at an exhibition event in Dubai. So far in Melbourne, Swiatek has had three straight-set wins. On Friday, Swiatek destroyed Cristina Bucsa 6-0 6-1.
After the match, Swiatek revealed her confidence has been building steadily since the start of the tournament. "I feel I'm more and more confident since Day 1 here. I'm not even talking about matches, but also practices. I feel like I've done so much work to feel more confident, more relaxed on court.
I'm pretty happy that I did it because it's just a little bit easier. When you actually play those matches, you can feel the rhythm a little bit more. I think that's the thing that I am most pleased with," Swiatek said.