MELBOURNE, Australia ( Associated Press) – It may be easy to forget, but Coco Gauff is barely 18 years old. After all, he has been winning matches in Grand Slam tournaments for three and a half years. He has already reached the final of a major event. She is ranked in the top 10 in the WTA singles and doubles rankings.
Gauff had something to be proud of after coming twice within a point going into the third set by Ema Raducanu at the Australian Open on Wednesday in the first duel between two of the most promising players in women’s tennis.
“He can stay calm when he needs to be and stand up when he needs to be. At the same time, protect everyone. It’s something that can be done with maturity,” Gauff said. “I think in the past I would have panicked at that point.”
Instead, the American earned credit for a 6-3, 7-6(4) win over 20-year-old Briton Radukaanu at Rod Laver Arena to reach the third round at Melbourne Park for the first time since 2020. ,
“Fans who see new faces in tennis,” said seventh-seeded Gauff, who lost to world number one Iga Swiatek in the French Open final in June.
Radukanu has not crossed the second round of a Grand Slam since winning the US Open in 2021. She then created history by becoming the first player to emerge from the previous stage to lift a legend’s trophy.
“We are going to play each other many times in the future, we are both young players just starting out,” said Reducanu. “We are the new generation.”
Currently ranked 77, Radukanu has been battling an ankle injury and was on crutches for 10 days ahead of the start of the Australian Open. But he came close to winning the third set when he had a few set points available in the second set to take a 5-4 lead.
But Gauff knew how to react thanks to his ability to react, his speed to move and the ease with which he could move from defense to offense.
“Who told me we were in the second set. I won the first. He had to win this set to stay in the match. You are the one who knows your level. In the third set you have a good chance to win it”, Gough later said. “I focused on that point as a striker and didn’t think about what could happen in the near future.”