Swiatek rolls on at Australian Open as Gauff wins battle of young titans

By Paul Myers - RFI
JAN 18, 2023 LISTEN

Top seed Iga Swiatek waltzed into the last-32 at the Australian Open on Wednesday with a 6-2, 6-3 destruction of the unseeded Colombian Camila Osorio. The Pole was joined in the third round by her victim in the 2022 French Open final Coco Gauff who dispatched the 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu in straight sets.

In her second round clash on Rod Laver Arena, Swiatek raced into a 4-0 lead in the opening set against her fellow 21-year-old.

Swiatek, seeking her first title at Melbourne Park, served for the opener at 5-1 but fluffed her lines.

However, she snaffled Osorio's service to claim the first set after 38 minutes.

Swiatek won four consecutive games to lead  5-1 in the second set and the chance to serve for the match.

But she choked. However, on the second opportunity to conclude proceedings, she made no mistake.

The top seed will take on the Spanish qualifier Cristina Bucsa for a place in the last-16.

Gauff, 18, claimed her first meeting with 20-year-old Raducanu 6-3, 7-6.

Handling the pressure

"I just told myself to hang in there towards the end," said Gauff who saved two set points in the second set.

"We both started off rocky but the match was good quality for the most part considering the circumstances.

"When you go into the tournament you have to beat the best," Gauff added. "Obviously you hope it's not the second round, but what can you do? I'm glad both of us handled the pressure pretty well."

Elsewhere in the women's draw; the 2012 and 2013 champion Victoria Azarenka pulverised Nadia Podoroska 6-0, 6-1.

The 25-year-old Argentine was dispatched in 57 minutes.

The 20th seed Barbara Krejcikova, who reached the quarter-finals last year in Melbourne, got past the French qualifier Clara Burel 6-4, 6-1.

In the men's tournament, following the shock departure of top seed Rafael Nadal, third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and fifth seed Daniil Medvedev advanced to the third round following straight sets wins over the local heroes Rinky Hijikata and John Millman respectively.