Fed­erer, Ser­ena power ahead; Osaka sets up Coco crunch

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia - Fif­teen-year-old prodigy Coco Gauff set up an Aus­tralian Open block­buster with de­fend­ing cham­pion Naomi Osaka on Wed­nes­day, as a pumped-up Ser­ena Wil­liams took another step to­wards a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam ti­tle.

On a day when men's seeds tum­bled, Ser­bia's No­vak Djokovic strode into the third round to be joined by Roger Fed­erer, who dis­missed Filip Kra­ji­novic 6-1, 6-4, 6-1.

Amer­i­can teenager Gauff, show­ing a tenac­ity which is be­com­ing her trade­mark, clawed her way back from a set down to beat the ex­pe­ri­enced So­rana Cirstea 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Gauff, who screamed and pumped her fists as she com­pleted her victory, said her 'will to win' had got her through the tough sec­ond-round match at a windswept Mel­bourne Park.

"My par­ents al­ways told me you can al­ways come back - no mat­ter what the score is," said Gauff, who beat seven-time Grand Slam cham­pion Venus Wil­liams in round one.

Gauff also beat Venus on her Grand Slam de­but last year at Wim­ble­don, and in another quirk, she faced Osaka in the US Open third round, go­ing down meekly in straight sets.

Ja­pan's Osaka, 22, beat China's Zheng Sai­sai 6-2, 6-4 but briefly lost her cool mid­match, hurl­ing and kick­ing her rac­quet when she gave up a break in the sec­ond set.

"I was think­ing that I re­ally don't want to play a third set this time," ex­plained Osaka, who is de­fend­ing a Grand Slam ti­tle for the sec­ond time.

For­mer world No 1 Woz­ni­acki, play­ing her fi­nal tour­na­ment be­fore re­tir­ing, came from be­hind in both sets for a 7-5, 7-5 win over Dayana Yas­trem­ska of Ukraine.

Ser­ena shouted at the top of her voice dur­ing a test­ing sec­ond set against 70th-ranked Ta­mara Zi­dansek, be­fore see­ing off break points to win 6-2, 6-3.

"She was a re­ally good fighter - she did not just let me win," said Ser­ena.

Wind ‘mas­sive fac­tor’

Ear­lier, Aus­tralia's world No 1 Ash­leigh Barty raced through 6-1, 6-4 against Polona Hercog, buoy­ing hopes of a first home win­ner since 1978.

"It was very dif­fer­ent end to end, I think the wind was a mas­sive fac­tor par­tic­u­larly with the new ball," she said.

Djokovic also weath­ered the breeze - which fol­lowed heavy rain on Mon­day, and smog from bush­fires last week - to beat Ja­panese wild­card Tat­suma Ito 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 in 95 min­utes.

"They were tough con­di­tions, pretty windy and it was hard to know where the balls were go­ing. My serve helped a lot to get me out of trou­ble," said the Serb.

Fed­erer was barely de­tained by Kra­ji­novic, the world No 41, as he moved smoothly through in 92 min­utes in the night match on Rod Laver Arena.

In other re­sults, Pe­tra Kvi­tova, last year's run­ner-up, came through 7-5, 7-5 against Paula Ba­dosa of Spain, and China's Zhang Shuai ousted Amer­i­can Caty Mc­Nally 6-2, 6-4.

For­mer US Open cham­pion Marin Cilic won against French seed Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-7 (6-8), 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (10-3), and one-time semi­fi­nal­ist Mi­los Raonic beat Chile's Chris­tian Garin in straight sets.

Ten­nys Sand­gren, en­gulfed in con­tro­versy over his po­lit­i­cal views and right-wing links dur­ing his run to the 2018 quar­ter­fi­nals, took the big­gest scalp so far when he ousted eighth seed Mat­teo Ber­ret­tini 7-6 (9-7), 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 7-5.

Sand­gren's fel­low Amer­i­can Tommy Paul also pulled off a five-set up­set when he beat Bul­gar­ian 18th seed Grigor Dim­itrov 6-4, 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (10-3).

And Aus­tralia's John Mill­man fur­ther trimmed the num­ber of high-ranked play­ers when he ended the cam­paign of Pol­ish 31st seed Hu­bert Hurkacz.

But Greek sixth seed Ste­fanos Tsit­si­pas was handed a slice of for­tune when Philipp Kohlschrei­ber with­drew in­jured.

Among eight first-round matches held over from Tues­day, af­ter rain wiped out half of Mon­day's sched­ule, Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro, also re­tir­ing this year, up­set Be­laru­sian 11th seed Aryna Sa­balenka in straight sets. Other seeded player re­sults (x de­notes seed­ing): Men’s sec­ond round: Guido Pella (x22) beat Gre­goire Bar­rere 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; Mi­los Raonic (x32) beat Cris­tian Garin 6-3, 6-4, 6-2; Diego Schwartz­man (x14) beat Ale­jan­dro Davi­dovich 6-1, 6-4, 6-2; Du­san La­jovic (x24) beat Marc Pol­mans 6-2, 6-4, 6-3; Yoshi­hito Nish­ioka beat Daniel Evans (x30) 6-4, 6-3, 6-4; Fabio Fognini (x12) beat Jor­dan Thompson 7-6 (7-4), 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (10-4); Roberto Bautista Agut (x9) beat Michael Mmoh 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-1.

Women's sin­gles first round: Anett Kon­taveit (x28) beat As­tra Sharma 6-0, 6-2; Carla Suarez beat Aryna Sa­balenka (x11) 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (8-6); Elise Mertens (x16) beat Danka Kovinic 6-2, 6-0; Anas­ta­sia Pav­lyuchenkov­a (x30) beat Nina Sto­janovic 6-1, 7-5. Sec­ond round: Elena Ry­bak­ina (x29) beat Greet Min­nen 6-3, 6-4; Alison Riske (x18) beat Lin Zhu 6-3, 6-1; Maria Sakkari (x22) beat Nao Hib­ino 7-6 (7-4), 6-4; Eka­te­rina Alexan­drova (x25) beat Barbora Kre­j­cikova 6-1, 6-3; Sofia Kenin (x14) beat Ann Li 6-1, 6-3; Qiang Wang (x27) beat Fiona Ferro 6-1, 6-2; Madi­son Keys (x10) beat Aran­txa Rus 7-6 (7-3), 6-2.

Roger Fed­erer

Coco Gauff

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