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Osaka lies in wait for Coco Gauff after 15-year-old battles from a set down

Elsewhere, there were victories for big guns Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in Melbourne today.

Osaka breezes into the next round.
Osaka breezes into the next round.
Image: Imago/PA Images

Updated Jan 22nd 2020, 12:50 PM

15-YEAR-OLD prodigy Coco Gauff, showing a tenacity which is becoming her trademark, clawed her way back from a set down to beat the experienced Sorana Cirstea 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 at the Australian Open.

The American, who exhaled a scream to greet victory, will next face reigning Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka.

“My parents always told me you can always come back — no matter what the score is,” said Gauff, who beat seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams in round one.

Gauff also beat Williams on her Grand Slam debut last year at Wimbledon, and in another quirk, she faced Osaka in the US Open third round, going down in straight sets on that occasion.

Japan’s Osaka, 22, beat China’s Zheng Saisai 6-2, 6-4 but briefly lost her cool mid-match, hurling and kicking her racquet when she gave up a break in the second set in blustery conditions in Melbourne.

“That’s how I dealt with my frustration,” Osaka said of her racquet fling during a tense clash with a conservative opponent.

“It’s really tough because you start thinking — she’s not hitting winners.”

“I definitely got very frustrated in the second set and it’s something that I knew would happen.”

imago-20200122 Gauff celebrates winning her second round match against Sorana Cirstea Source: Imago/PA Images

Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, playing her final tournament before retiring, lived to fight again as she came from behind in both sets for a 7-5, 7-5 win over Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine.

And Australia’s world number one Ashleigh Barty raced through 6-1, 6-4 against Polona Hercog, buoying hopes of a first home winner since 1978.

“It was very different end to end, I think the wind was a massive factor particularly with the new ball,” she said.

Serena Williams cruised through her match against Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek 6-2, 6-3 and will face China’s Qiang Wang in Friday’s third-round match.

Novak Djokovic also weathered the breeze — which followed welcome heavy rain on Monday, and smog from bushfires last week — to beat Japanese wildcard Tatsuma Ito 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 in 95 minutes.

australian-open-day-3 Federer takes applause from the crowd. Source: AAP/PA Images

Meanwhile, Roger Federer kept intact his 20-year record of reaching at least the third round after crushing Serb Filip Krajinovic.

The six-time champion first played at Melbourne Park in 2000 and has gone on to make the semi-finals or better on 14 occasions, with no exits before round three.

The 38-year-old third seed dominated the 41st-ranked Krajinovic 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 on Rod Laver Arena, stretching his record over him to 4-0.

© – AFP, 2020

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