With those points, she would be comfortably in the top 10.
Nor has Rybakina been granted some of the perks that usually come with a Wimbledon title. She has often been relegated to outside courts instead of the main stadiums at tour and Grand Slam events. She played her opening-round match at this Australian Open on Court 13, while Swiatek opened the night session in Rod Laver Arena.
But she was impossible to ignore on center stage on Sunday as she smacked six aces and four return winners and repeatedly rushed the fleet-footed Swiatek with her groundstrokes, all delivered with her trademark equanimity.
“Of course I’m nervous,” Rybakina said. “My coach is saying I actually need to show my emotions sometimes, so I am also learning.”
In the quarterfinals, Rybakina will face Jelena Ostapenko, who finished off her win over American Coco Gauff, 7-5, 6-3, shortly after Rybakina’s victory.
In their only previous match against each other, Swiatek defeated Rybakina, 7-6 (5), 6-2, in 2021 in the quarterfinals of an indoor event in Ostrava in the Czech Republic. But this was their first meeting in a major tournament and could mark the start of a rivalry.
Swiatek is 21; Rybakina, 23. Though Swiatek has been particularly dominant on clay with her heavy forehand and excellent movement, Rybakina clearly has the tools to pose trouble for anyone on the game’s faster surfaces. With her height and reach, she is able to handle Swiatek’s high-bouncing topspin and kick serve with greater ease than most opponents, and her pure ball striking can be overwhelming when she is on target.
Swiatek, despite her speed, was often a long way from Rybakina’s winners on Sunday, and Rybakina had consistent success hitting behind Swiatek and forcing her to change direction in a hurry. Rybakina also pounded deep returns at Swiatek’s body, giving her little time to make the big grip change from her serve to her forehand.