WATCH: Linette started her 2023 season by representing Poland in the United Cup alongside her two higher-ranked compatriots.


Magda Linette was the lowest-ranked of the three Polish players who reached Round 4 at the Australian Open, but after Iga Swiatek and Hubert Hurkacz lost on Sunday, the hopes of a nation rest squarely on her shoulders.

The unseeded 30-year-old, ranked No. 45, has beaten two seeds—No. 16 Anett Kontaveit and No. 19 Ekaterina Alexandrova—to reach the last 16 at a Grand Slam for the first time; her win over Alexandrova inside Rod Laver Arena on Saturday night broke a 0-6 winless streak in the third round of Grand Slams.

But if she wants to reach the quarterfinals, she'll need to pass her toughest test yet: She next faces No. 4 seed Caroline Garcia, whom she's never beaten.

Read on to lead more about Linette, and why she says the best might still be yet to come.

The Basics

A native of Poznan, Poland, Linette turned pro in 2009, scored her first victory in a WTA main draw in 2013, and first cracked the Top 100 in 2015—the year in which she reached her first WTA singles final, and played against her country's then-standard bearer, Agnieszka Radwanska, at the US Open.

But Linette might be considered the proverbial 'late-bloomer' to some: The majority of her career success came after age 25. She reached the third round of a major for the first time at Roland Garros in 2017, and made her biggest strides over 15 months in 2019-20 where she won her first two career WTA singles titles.

But she still had yet to earn that elusive berth in the last 16 at a major, despite achieving the feat of getting to Round 3 at all four events when she reached that round at the 2020 US Open. After losing in straight sets in her first four Round 3 matches at Grand Slams, she lost in three sets to both Ons Jabeur and Paula Badosa at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2021 after losing the first set.

That history made her win against Alexandrova—who beat her 6-0, 6-2 in Charleston last year—even sweeter.

"When you work so hard for so many years and you are so close so many times in so many Grand Slams, it's really great that eventually you get that reward." Magda Linette


The Latest

While Swiatek's world-beating form captivated tennis in 2022, Linette was also adding to her career resume. She beat Jabeur in the first round of Roland Garros, and reached her fifth career WTA singles final in Chennai, India, in the fall. She also won the first two WTA doubles titles of her career.

The former world No. 33, who reached her career-high ranking shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic ground tennis to a halt, says it's futile to compare her achievements to that of Swiatek. But she's keeping a healthy perspective on what it means to be a part of her generation of players.

"I've really separated myself because she has done so much," Linette said. "She's so much ahead of me that I'm not really comparing myself in any way because it's just being too far away for now.

"But I think in general in Poland for tennis and for exposure of tennis and for me that is helping that people are just more interested in tennis as a sport in Poland because it never has been that really popular. So I think she has done so much for tennis in Poland, and by just coincidence that is helping me as well because just people are watching more. They are more interested.

"I think more people are coming for my matches as well because of it."

A similar perspective has served her well in Melbourne, where she's credited maturity and experience for her best-ever Grand Slam result. She bounced back after losing the first set against Kontaveit to win their Round 2 match 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, and held off a late surge from Alexandrova to complete a 6-3, 6-4 win.

"I think I'm looking at things a little bit different," Linette said. "I'm older. I'm more experienced, and I just calm down a bit. Emotionally I'm maybe finally growing up a little bit. When I'm down, I'm not that dramatic about it. And I can, like, still keep fighting against my opponent, not only myself."

Why It Matters

Linette knows what it takes to upset Top 5 players at Grand Slams. In fact, all three of her career Top 10 victories to date have come at majors. In addition to beating Jabeur in Paris last year, she benefitted from an injury retirement by then-No. 1 Ashleigh Barty at Roland Garros in 2021, and also beat then-No. 6 Elina Svitolina at Wimbledon.

She hasn't played Garcia in six years, but if there's one thing you can be sure of, it's that Linette will enjoy the moment.

"It took me so long to get here. ... It took me so many tough experiences along the way," Linette said. "Now, it feels it really was worth it."