Coco Gauff, in quest for consecutive Grand Slam titles, advances in Australian Open

Gauff advances to second round with quick win

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — 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.

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

Coco Gauff returns a shot to Iga Swiatek of Poland during the women’s singles semifinal match in the China Open tennis tournament at the Diamond Court in Beijing on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

“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’.”

Earlier, there was a surprising defeat for Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova as she was beaten 6-1, 6-2 by Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine.

Seventh-seeded Vondrousova missed the Adelaide tune-up event with a hip injury and struggled on serve throughout, hitting seven double faults as she was well-beaten by the world No. 93-ranked player.

In other early play, 19th-seeded Elina Svitolina, advanced to the second round, beating Taylah Preston, a wild-card entry from Australia, 6-2, 6-2.

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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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