Coco Gauff defeats Emma Raducanu to advance at the Australian Open




CNN

Coco Gauff had a tough second-round match at the Australian Open on Wednesday, beating Emma Raducanu 6-3 7-6.

Gauff, 18, is now unbeaten in seven matches this year after winning the ASB Classic in Auckland earlier this month.

Against Raducanu, the 2021 US Open champion, she faced arguably her toughest test of the year so far, and the highly anticipated encounter certainly lived up to her billing.

Both players produced high-quality shots at crucial moments, but it was Gauff, the tournament’s seventh seed, who had the upper hand throughout.

“Given the circumstances, I can imagine we were both nervous,” Gauff said during his on-court interview. “It was a long-awaited match since the draw, so I’m glad it’s a good match for you.”

The pair traded breaks early in the match, but Gauff took the lead when she broke for a 4-2 lead and served for the first set.

It looked like the American would go through the rest of the game when she took a 3-1 lead in the second set, but Raducanu got back into the fight and broke Gauff at 3-4.

Time and again, the two players found themselves locked in long, absorbing rallies, and Raducanu nearly leveled the game with two set points at 5-4.

Gauff, however, moved superbly down the field, collecting shots that seemed well out of reach. Her serve also proved a reliable weapon when she needed it most as she led the second set to a tie-break.

Raducanu, unable to maintain his high level from the start of the set, slid to a 2-6 deficit in the tiebreaker, and from there Gauff saw the contest by lobbing Raducanu on the third of his four match points.

After starting the Australian Open as one of the tournament favorites, Gauff will step up her quest for a maiden Grand Slam title against China’s Zheng Qinwen or fellow American Bernarda Pera in the third round.

For Raducanu, 20, the defeat ended a tough start to the year after he rolled his ankle in his second-round match in Auckland.

She has struggled with form and injury since winning her first Grand Slam as a qualifier aged 18 and falling to No. 77 in the world rankings ahead of the Australian Open.

malek

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