Tennis: Coco Gauff advances to the Australian Open’s 2nd round

AP , Monday 15 Jan 2024

With increased confidence in her serve thanks to some advice from Andy Roddick, Coco Gauff began her quest for back-to-back Grand Slam singles titles with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova at the Australian Open on Monday.

USA s Coco Gauff hits a return against Slovakia s Anna Karolina Schmiedlova during their women s singles match on day two of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 15, 2024. AFP

The 19-year-old American, who won her first major at the U.S. Open in September, wrapped up victory in exactly one hour.

“I was a little nervous the first set,” fourth-seeded Gauff said. “I think I did well returning, then I found my serve toward the end (of the set). When I was nervous at 3-3, I told myself: ‘I feel good, I look good, so just have fun’. That was able to relax me a little bit’.”

Gauff dropped just one point on her serve in the second set and said that former No. 1 Roddick had recently given her some serving tips.

“It was really cool,” she said. “He’s a really chill guy. I met him before but never to that level. I went to Charlotte (North Carolina) for two days. It was a really good two days. I think that my serve has improved. He’s probably one of the best servers in history . . . “

Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova was beaten 6-1, 6-2 by Dayana Yastremska.

Seventh-seeded Vondrousova missed the Adelaide tune-up event with a hip injury and struggled on serve throughout, hitting seven double faults.

“I didn’t practice because I was injured,” she said. “I think that was the important thing. I lost myself at the beginning.”

Third-seeded Daniil Medvedev, the 2021 and 2022 finalist at Melbourne Park, advanced to the second round when his opponent Terence Atmane retired early in the fourth set suffering from cramps. Medvedev had dropped the first set but was leading 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 1-0 when the 22-year-old Atmane quit.

“It’s quite funny because when I was feeling tired in the third set, I looked up the other end and saw he was cramping,” Medvedev said. “The conditions were fine but it has not been hot these seven days and then it was hot today, so you get more stressed.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas, who lost last year’s Australian final to Novak Djokovic in three sets, advanced with a 5-7, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 win over Zizou Bergs. Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 Australian Open champion and three-time Grand Slam winner, was beaten 6-4, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-0 by Adrian Mannarino.

Ben Shelton, a quarterfinalist here 12 months ago, beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 7-6 (2), 7-5. Another American, 25th-seeded Seb Korda, defeated Vit Kopriva 6-1, 6-4, 2-6, 4-6, 6-2.

Four-time major winner Naomi Osaka later makes her much-anticipated comeback to Grand Slam tennis after the birth of her daughter. The Japanese player takes on Caroline Garcia of France in the first round in the last match on Rod Laver Arena.

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