Coco Gauff, Arnya Sabalenka cruise into Aussie Open quarters

League: Tennis

Posted on: 21 Jan, 2024 at 05:05 AM

Credit: Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports

American Coco Gauff looked like she had a movie to catch as she rolled to a straight-sets victory in just 63 minutes, defeating Poland's Magdalena Frech 6-1, 6-2 in early Sunday play at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Asked whether she was in some sort of rush to finish the match, Gauff smiled and said she was planning to go see "The Iron Claw," but added that wasn't why the victory came so easily.

The fourth-seeded Gauff, who is the first woman to reach this year's quarterfinals, took command in the first set, delivering eight winners to just two for Frech and committing only seven unforced errors.

She offset a 40 percent mark in first-serve percentage by owning a second-serve, points-won percentage of 89.

Gauff said she was honored to play in Rod Laver Arena -- in front of Rod Laver himself -- and talked about the inspirational messages on her shoes that she wore in the victory.

One of the messages is " 'You can change the world with your racket,' " she said, "something my dad told me since I was a little girl. And an inspiration of why I always feel like it's important to speak up and speak out about certain issues."

The 19-year-old Gauff continued to speak in a manner that belies her age, saying life is "much more than tennis and how I do out here on the court doesn't define me as a person."

The tennis worked well Sunday, with Gauff collecting 21 winners and dominating Frech in first-serve points won, 76 percent to 47 percent. She also won five of her nine break-point opportunities; Frech did not have any chances to break.

Gauff will next face Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine, who continued the trend of straight-sets victories Sunday, disposing of Maria Timofeeva of Russia, 6-2, 6-1.
Kostyuk had 19 winners and converted four of her five break points, while Timofeeva was 0-for-4 and committed 20 unforced errors.

Also in action early Sunday afternoon was No. 2 seed and defending Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, who made quick work of American Amanda Anisimova 6-3, 6-2, in 70 minutes.

In reaching the quarterfinals, Sabalenka has yet to drop a set and has not allowed more than three games to any opponent.

"I'm super happy with the level. Happy to get this win," Sabalenka said, spotting fans wearing T-shirts that spelled out A-R-Y-N-A, pointing to them and smiling. "That's why I'm getting stronger because I enjoy the atmosphere so much."

--Field Level Media