The entire tennis world has descended on Melbourne, Australia as the first Grand Slam of the year gets into full swing. While world No. 1 ranked Iga Świątek is still the favorite, young American phenom Coco Gauff has everyone talking about the roll she’s on right now.
She followed up her big win at a warm up tournament in Auckland, New Zealand with an impressive 6-1, 6-4 first round win over Kateřina Siniaková. She got her 100th WTA tour win with a headline making 6-3, 7-6 victory over 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu. Coco’s power game was too much for Raducanu, who is coming off of an ankle injury in Auckland. Emma may be the one with a Grand Slam title, but Coco is clearly a better player. She’s hitting her peak, while the British 20-year-old is still finding her footing and getting comfortable on the top level of the WTA tour. Despite the difference in their experience level, there was a lot of pressure surrounding this highly-anticipated match between two of the sport’s rising stars. Coco explained how she approached the second round match-up in her on-court interview.
“At a Grand Slam you have to win seven matches, and when you go into the tournament you have to expect to play the best,” she said. “Obviously you hope it’s not in the second round, but what can you do? I feel like we handled the pressure pretty well, and kudos to Emma—I know she had a tough week in Auckland—so really good for her to be able to play this level after such a scary moment.”
Up next, Coco faces American Bernarda Pera in the third round. She’s also playing doubles with Jessica Pegula, who has also played spectacularly through the first two rounds. If they both keep up the momentum, they could possibly meet in the semifinals.
Elsewhere in the competition, 2017 US Open finalist Madison Keys takes on Victoria Azarenka—the only former Australian Open champion remaining in the tournament—in the third round. Meanwhile, consummate showman Frances Tiafoe faces a strong third round challenge in No. 18 seed Karen Khachanov. If he wins, he faces the winner of Mackenzie Mcdonald vs. Yoshihito Nishioka.
You can follow Coco, Frances and Madison’s progress in the Australian Open on the ESPN networks and Tennis Channel.