Tuesday , November 24 2020

Coco Gauff beats Venus Williams again in stunning Australian Open debut – The Guardian, Theguardian.com

  • – year-old beats seven-times Grand slam winner 7-6, 6-3
  • Gauff also knocked out Williams in Wimbledon first round

8268 Coco Gauff of the USA celebrates after beating Venus Williams in the first round of the Australian Open. Photograph: Scott Barbour / AAP

(Coco Gauff shone on her) Australian Open debut on Monday as she knocked Venus Williams out of the first round in a repeat of her stunning victory over the seven-times Grand Slam champion in the Wimbledon opener last year. (With the) – year-old Gauff now a top (player – and) – year-old Venus having been a Doubt for the tournament with a hip injury – it was far less of a surprise to see the teenager come through 7-6 (5) 6-3 under the roof on Margaret Court Arena. The Young American’s achievements should certainly not be taken for granted, though, and she showed maturity well beyond her years to battle through after nerves kicked in during the first set. Gauff led 5-3 and had three sets points, while a 5-2 lead in the tie-break also disappeared, but a missed backhand volley from Venus at 5-6 helped her young opponent over the line in the opener. There were no wobbles in the second, and Gauff said: “That was really difficult, she played really well. I was really nervous for today’s match. I was a bit shocked, I’m sure everybody was shocked, when they saw that draw but I’m really glad to get through it. ”

Elsewhere in early matches, the defending women’s champion, Naomi Osaka, survived a second-set wobble to beat the Czech, Marie Bouzkova, 6-2, 6-4 in an hour and minutes on Rod Laver. “I understand that I don’t have to play perfect in the first round. It’s more about building your level up and getting comfortable with yourself, ”Osaka said. “Also just understanding that every match you play is probably going to be very difficult and being OK with that.”

Eyes remained fixed on the women’s draw on the main court as Serena Williams, looking as fit and trim as she has done for a long time, closed on Margaret Court’s – slam all-time record by one more match, belting a ninth ace in less than an hour to beat the Russian teenager, Anastasia Potapova, 6-0, 6-3. Williams won her last major on this court three years ago when eight months pregnant. At , she will not get many more chances. “I think it helped my mojo winning a tournament [in New Zealand] coming here,” Williams said later. “It’s been quite awhile. But you both start from zero-zero. It’s not easy. I learned a lot from Mike Tyson in the off-season. ”

Williams is making her latest bid to equal Margaret Court’s record of 50 grand slam singles titles having lost in four finals since returning to the tour nearly two years ago after the birth of daughter Olympia. “I think it’s factored a lot into my game, and now it’s just more or less about doing the best that Serena Williams can do,” she said. Margaret Court was a wonderful, great champion. And now how great is Serena Williams? That’s it. That’s kind of what I have been thinking about the last couple of weeks and months. It definitely helps me relax a lot. ”

Petra Kvitova, who Osaka beat in a dramatic final months ago, was the quickest winner of the day, taking just 76 minutes to swat aside fellow Czech Katerina Siniakova 6-1, 6-0 under the roof on Margaret Court Arena. Caroline Wozniacki began her final tournament with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over American Kristie Ahn while there were also wins for th seed Petra Martic and th seed Sofia Kenin.

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