Australian Open: Swiatek, Gauff, Pegula advance to round of 16

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MELBOURNE: World number one tennis star Iga Swiatek from Poland advanced to the round of 16 of the ongoing Australian Open, defeating Spain’s Cristina Bucsa comprehensively in her third-round match on Friday.

Swiatek defeated her Spanish opponent 6-0, 6-1. In the pre-quarters, Swiatek will take on last season’s Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, who defeated the previous year’s runners-up Danielle Collins by 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 in their third-round match-up.

“I feel I am more and more confident since Day 1 here,” Swiatek said in her post-match press conference as quoted by WTA. “I am not even talking about matches, but also practices. I feel like I have done so much work to feel more confident, more relaxed on the court.

“I am pretty happy that I did it because it is just a little bit easier. When you actually play those matches, you can feel the rhythm a little bit more. I think that is the thing that I am most pleased with.”

Looking ahead to Rybakina’s challenge, Swiatek added: “Rybakina really is a solid player. Since we played juniors, I knew that she is kind of going in the right direction. With her serve, she can do a lot.”

Meanwhile, America’s Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff continued their good show at the prestigious tournament.

Pegula, the number 3 seed, fended off challenge from Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk on Friday. She defeated her by 6-0, 6-2 to advance to the fourth round.

In three matches at Melbourne so far, Pegula has lost only 11 games in six sets.

Pegula will be facing number 20 seed Barbora Krejickova in the fourth round. The 2021 Roland Garros champion advanced to the fourth round after a 6-2, 6-3 win over Anhelina Kalinina.

“I think the score obviously looked dominant, but there was a lot of really tough games in that match,” Pegula said afterwards. “She can be really a dangerous player,” added the American.

“I think I just did a good job of playing every single point, every single game, really tough, not letting her kind of get any free points or free games. I made her really have to earn it today. I think that paid off,” concluded Pegula.

On the other hand, Gauff downed Bernarda Pera in her third-round match to reach the round of 16 for the second time.

Gauff won the match 6-3, 6-2.

The 18-year-old sensation had last reached the round of 16 in the tournament back in 2020, where she lost to eventual champion Sofia Kenin. Gauff will be facing 2017 Roland Garros winner Jelena Ostapenko in the fourth round.

Jelena downed Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl for the first time in four career meetings by 6-3, 6-0. (ANI)

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