Coco Gauff's promising start to 2020 continued after she beat Sorana Cirstea at the Australian Open to set up a third-round clash with defending champion Naomi Osaka.
The 15-year-old starlet hit back from a set down to defeat Cirstea 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, while Osaka triumphed over Zheng Saisai 6-2, 6-4 to advance. Top seed Ashleigh Barty also qualified for the next stage after a comfortable 6-1, 6-4 win against Polona Hercog.
Serena Williams was also back in action on Day 3 and defeated Tamara Zidansek 6-2, 6-3, with the former world No. 1 hoping to improve on her run to the quarter-finals in Melbourne last year.
Novak Djokovic made light work of Tatsuma Ito and advanced to the third round with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 victory. His next opponent will be another Japanese contender, Yoshihito Nishioka, who beat England's Dan Evans in straight sets.
Third seed Roger Federer eased Filip Krajinovic aside in a 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 win for the Swiss, who will next face home favourite John Millman.
Stefanos Tsitsipas was given a walkover win after Philipp Kohlschreiber was forced to withdraw with a thigh injury, and his reward is a meeting with Milos Raonic.
Wednesday's Key Results
(2) Novak Djokovic bt. Tatsuma Ito: 6-1, 6-4, 6-2
(3) Roger Federer bt. Filip Krajinovic: 6-1, 6-4, 6-1
(6) Stefanos Tsitsipas bt. Philipp Kohlschreiber (walkover)
(14) Diego Schwartzman bt. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina: 6-1, 6-4, 6-2
(24) Dusan Lajovic bt. Marc David Polmans: 6-2, 6-4, 6-3
(32) Milos Raonic bt. Cristian Garin: 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
Tennys Sandgren bt. (8) Matteo Berrettini: 7-6 (7), 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 7-5
Tommy Paul bt. (18) Grigor Dimitrov: 6-4, 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3)
Marin Cilic bt. (21) Benoit Paire: 6-2, 6-7 (6), 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3)
Yoshihito Nishioka bt. (30) Dan Evans: 6-4, 6-3, 6-4
(1) Ashleigh Barty bt. Polona Hercog: 6-1, 6-4
(3) Naomi Osaka bt. Zheng Saisai: 6-2, 6-4
(7) Petra Kvitova bt. Paula Badosa: 7-5, 7-5
(8) Serena Williama bt. Tamara Zidansek: 6-2, 6-3
(14) Sofia Kenin bt. Ann Li: 6-1, 6-3
(27) Wang Qiang bt. Fiona Ferro: 6-1, 6-2
Coco Gauff bt. Sorana Cirstea: 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
Carla Suarez Navarro bt. (11) Aryna Sabalenka: 7-6 (6), 7-6 (6)
Julia Gorges bt. (13) Petra Martic: 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
Caroline Wozniacki bt. (23) Dayana Yastremska: 7-5, 7-5
Heather Watson bt. Kristyna Pliskova: 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
Visit the Australian Open website to see the full results.
UK Replay Schedule (Time GMT)
Eurosport 1 6:36 p.m. and 11:11 p.m.
Eurosport 2 at 3 p.m., 7:26 p.m. and 8:41 p.m.
Live Stream: Eurosport Player (UK)
U.S. Replay Schedule (Time ET)
ESPN 2 at 2 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Tennis Channel at 10:30 p.m.
Live Stream: Tennis Channel Everywhere (U.S.)
One would hardly believe this is Gauff's first time competing at the Australian Open based on the confidence she's displayed thus far. She followed up her second career win over Venus Williams with a stylish comeback against Cirstea, who upset 32nd seed Barbora Strycova in straight sets in her first-round outing.
The teenager responded well after losing the opening set and pulled off an audacious comeback in the third, winning seven of the final nine games from 0-3 down to seal an emotional victory, via ESPN:
Things only get more difficult in the next round considering U.S.-born Osaka beat Gauff in their only career matchup thus far, not to mention she won her most recent major in Melbourne (2019 Australian Open).
Wind was a significant factor in Osaka's meeting with Zheng, who gave up three breaks of serve in each set and recorded just seven winners to her opponent's 20, per the Australian Open website.
Osaka suffered back-to-back breaks in the second set and trailed 4-2 at one point, showing clear frustration with a throw of her racquet.
She went on to complete the comeback but later said her actions were immature, per WTA Insider:
WTA Insider @WTA_insider
Osaka on how she managed her frustration in the 2nd set today: "I mean, my racquet just magically flew out of my hand (smiling). I couldn't control it. Sorry, Yonex. "It was a bit childish. I just want to play 1 match w/o throwing my racquet or kicking it. That's all I want."
Williams powered past Zidansek with relative ease save for a slight setback in the second set. Zidansek failed to convert three break points leading 3-2 at the time, and her opponent—a seven-time major-winner in Melbourne—proceeded to see out the result with four straight game wins.
Barty rarely looked rattled opposite Hercog and also advanced with a straight-sets result—her first of the tournament—to advance to the Australian Open third round for a fourth year in succession.
She showed improvement upon her 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 win over Lesia Tsurenko in the first round, but the Guardian's Tumaini Carayol predicted Barty will encounter a difficult test in 29th seed Elena Rybakina:
Djokovic was also dominant en route to victory against Ito, who won just nine percent of points receiving and failed to see so much as a single break-point opportunity.
The defending champion, on the other hand, won with 93 percent of his first-service points and was steadfast from the baseline, per LiveTennis:
His potential quarter-final opponent, Tsitsipas, could be considered even more of a threat after he was handed a walkover into the next round following Kohlschreiber's withdrawal.
The Greek star's spot in the last eight isn't yet assured, however, and tennis writer Jose Morgado anticipated a close clash between him and Raonic after the latter defeated Cristian Garin 6-3, 6-4, 6-2:
Federer is yet to drop a set after two matches thus far at the 2020 Australian Open, dispatching Krajinovic to make it into the third round of this competition for the 21st year in a row (since 2000).
His upcoming opponent, Brisbane native Millman, beat 31st seed Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 and is seeking his maiden berth in the fourth round with an upset victory over Federer.