Elena Rybakina is out of the Australian Open in an epic second-round match against Anna Blinkova. To be fair, both players showed exceptional shotmaking and hustle during this three-set match; it is difficult to call one a loser.
Rybakina was behind from the start losing the first set 4-6. She won the second set, and the third set was decided by the longest women's tiebreaker in Australian Open history. It spanned thirty minutes. Blinkova had 10 match points, and Rybakina 4. Rybakina, the 2023 Australian Open finalist, will be disappointed with her early exit, but she cannot be upset by her level of play. She was as spectacular in big points as Blinkova.
It was the best tiebreaker, men's or women's, that I have ever seen. All angles and parts of the court were used to earn winners by both players. Both were running down everything and did not appear winded or anxious about the gravity of each point. It will go down in history as the longest and among the best in quality of play.
Who is Anna Blinkova?
Anna Blinkova is a 29-year-old Russian player who turned professional in 2015 and has one WTA title. She is ranked in the Top 40 and by advancing to the third round at the Australian Open, has completed her career-best achievement in Melbourne.
Though casual fans may not know her name, she advanced to the third round at both the French Open and Wimbledon in 2023 and prior to that, was a third round finisher at the 2019 French Open.
After the win, Blinkova put her head in her hands and crouched down to the ground in disbelief. Rybakina came over to her side of the court to hug her. Blinkova has earned some new fans in Melbourne and around the world with this gutsy, never-say-die performance.