Melbourne [Australia]: No.7 seed Coco Gauff opened her 2023 Australian Open campaign with a straight-set triumph over the Czech Republic’s Katerina Siniakova here at the Rod Laver Arena on Monday.
The 18-year-old American advanced to the second round with a 6-1, 6-4 victory.
Gauff will face 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu next. Playing in her fourth Australian Open, Gauff opened up play and advanced through the first set in just 22 minutes.
After winning the longest rally of the match (22 strokes) and breaking Gauff to lead 4-2, Siniakova came back in the second set and appeared poised to force a third set. However, the lead was short-lived.
Gauff immediately broke again, earning a chance to serve out the victory.
Before the American sealed the victory with a backhand volley winner in the longest game of the match, Siniakova fought valiantly to save six match points.
“Really pleased with myself. Katerina is a fighter I knew she was going to fight until the last point and she proved that today. I’m glad I stayed mentally right there,” WTA.com quoted Gauff as saying.
The 20-year-old Emma Raducanu eased past her 27-year-old opponent Tamara Korpatsch 6-3, 6-2 in 1 hour and 25 minutes. Raducanu improved to 2-0 against Korpatsch thanks to powerful groundstrokes that brought to mind her journey to the US Open championship.
Elsewhere at Court 7, Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk tapped into her successful history at Melbourne Park to defeat No.28 seed Amanda Anisimova, 6-3, 6-4 in a straight set.
The 20-year-old, ranked No. 61, broke Anisimova on each of her four break points to score the tournament’s first upset in 78 minutes. With 29 wins to 16 unforced errors compared to Anisimova’s 21 winners and 18 unforced errors, Kostyuk proved to be the match’s better aggressor.
Kostyuk will next lock horns with Australian wild card Olivia Gadecki in the second round.
The 20-year-old Gadecki earned a victory in her Grand Slam debut, defeating Polina Kudermetova 7-5, 6-1.