Australian Open: Coco Gauff, Serena Williams face US Open rematches

Coco Gauff at the Australian Open (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Coco Gauff at the Australian Open (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images) /

Serena Williams and Coco Gauff will take on familiar opponents after sealing their places in the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

After earning their second consecutive victories at the Australian Open, Serena Williams and Coco Gauff must now prepare to face familiar opposition.

Teenager Gauff will play defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round, the same stage as she played the Japanese star at the US Open in September.

Serena, meanwhile, will challenge China’s Wang Qiang, who she took on in the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows.

As of the end of day three at the Australian Open, all the top 10 seeds in the women’s singles remain in the competition, with Aryna Sabalenka (11) the biggest star to have fallen so far.

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How did Serena and Coco get through?

Serena was dominant in her first match as she defeated Anastasia Potapova, dropping just three games in a 58-minute victory.

She had to work slightly harder in her 6-2 6-3 win over Tamara Zidansek and the 38-year-old produced a scrappy display where she made 28 unforced errors. Despite an under-par performance, her serve was not broken and progression never looked in doubt.

Gauff defeated Serena’s sister Venus 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in round one, having also won against the older of the Williams sisters during her breakout appearance at Wimbledon last year.

The 15-year-old was then in serious trouble in round two against Romanian Sorana Cirstea but recovered from falling a set behind to win a thriller 4-6 6-3 7-5 in two hours and six minutes.

As was the case with Serena, Gauff was not at her brilliant best in round 2, with nine double faults and 39 unforced errors, but she got the job done in the deciding set.

How did the US Open matches go?

For Serena, her US Open match against Wang, while taking place at an advanced stage in the quarterfinals, was her most comfortable contest of the tournament.

She will look to repeat that dominance in her match against the 27th seed, who she beat 6-1 6-0 in only 44 minutes in New York. Up to now, that has been the only career meeting between the two.

Osaka, who won her round-two match in Melbourne 6-2 6-4 against Shuai Zhang, got the better of Gauff in their clash at the US Open.

Despite much of the pre-match hype predicting a classic, Osaka won comfortably 6-3 6-0 as the American ran out of steam after a creditable run to round 3.

The match is remembered fondly for the touching post-match scenes as Osaka consoled an upset Gauff, which received global attention. The defending champion revealed it led to her receiving praise from singer Beyonce.

Even though the more experienced Osaka has the upper hand at the moment, there are hopes her battles with Gauff could develop into the defining rivalry of women’s tennis in the years ahead, with the two players top candidates to become the dominant WTA force of the 2020s.

Australian Open: Who else is in round 3?

Ash Barty is safely through, as is Madison Keys, Petra Kvitova, Sofia Kenin and Caroline Wozniacki.

The other top contenders in the women’s singles, including Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep, play their matches in the second round on Thursday.

In the men’s competition, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are already in round 3, while Rafael Nadal will take on Federico Delbonis in a bid to join his fellow members of the Big Three in the last 32.

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There have been no major shocks involving the tournament favorites so far, but with seeds now poised to do battle against each other, that could change in round 3.