America’s teenage World No. 7 star Coco Gauff, 18, knocks Britain’s Emma Raducanu, 20, out of Australian Open
- Emma Raducanu was beaten by Coco Gauff in Australian Open second round
- British hope had fought back from a break down to force a second set tie-break
- But she squandered two set points in the decisive game before Gauff prevailed
- Raducanu let herself down with double faults and unforced errors throughout
- Gauff was tested more in the second set but dug deep to make the third round
A quickfire battle of sometimes bewildering intensity ended with the 18 year-old American knocking Raducanu out of the Australian Open in the second round, 6-3 7-6 in one hour and 42 minutes.
While short on purist quality until a higher quality climax – there was a surfeit of errors until then – it was a highly watchable romp and Gauff was ultimately the deserved winner.
Coco Gauff overcame Emma Raducanu to progress to the Australian Open third round
The Brit’s game was littered with errors and in the end she was second-best to the American
Raducanu had struggled with injury before the opening Grand Slam of the season in Melbourne
Raducanu could not quite string together enough solid points as she tried to stay with the world No 7 before forcing two set points to take it into the decider.
The gap in ranking between them currently 70 places is clearly over-inflated, but it was a useful exercise in showing how much the 20 year-old from Kent still has to do.
She was, nonetheless, extremely competitive with the world’s best teenager by a distance, and that after a difficult tournament preparation.
‘I told myself to hang in there, I was playing great tennis at the end of the match,’ said Gauff, who took the tiebreak 7-4. ‘
Both of us were nervous, this was a long anticipated match, but I thought it was good. You have to expect to play the best and you hope it’s not the second round.
Raducanu was able to match the world No 7 at times but let herself down with unforced errors
Gauff had total control in the opening set but was tested in the second before prevailing
‘Kudos to Emma, she had a tough week in Auckland last week and it’s good for her that she could play this kind of match.’
Both players had the luxury of knowing that their match would go ahead on a day of weather disruption that involved constant showers and temperatures plunging to the low sixties.
With the roof closed on the Rod Laver Arena, Gauff would have the advantage of having played on this court before. The huge dimensions of its playing area can take a little bit of adjustment.
Raducanu took a game to get her eye in but was soon trading ferocious blows with the 18 year-old, who is combining power these days with her incredibly impressive court coverage.
Raducanu appeared to be feeling discomfort in her stomach as the second set wore on
The British player was looking to tee off on her returns any time she could and it almost paid dividends when she created two break points in the third game against a serve reaching 120 mph.
Forced onto the back foot by the penetrating drives of Gauff, she went behind in the next game, but forced two break points again in the fifth game. This time it was handed to her with a double fault.
Raducanu’s problem was a first serve percentage close to 50 and too many unforced errors as she pressed a little too much against the American, who had also thrown caution to the wind.
There were 36 unforced errors in total in the first set, which went Gauff’s way when she held off three break points at 5-3. With Gauff tightening up, Raducanu could not get enough on her returns to convert the chances.
Gauff saved two set points in the second to force a tie-break, which she won 7-4 to advance
The American star was second-best to Raducanu at points during the second-round clash
A promising star to the second set for the British player was ruined when she delivered two double faults to be broken in the third game.
She broke back for 4-4 and then held in her best spell of the match before creating two set points to level it all. On the first she drove long with the backhand and then floated an attempted that dropped agonisingly short on the second.
Raducanu was looking the stronger player going into the tiebreak, with the overall level of the match improving.
Superb defensive play from Gauff, retrieving her opponent’s aggressive and often pinpoint drives, carried into the tiebreak and she moved to 4-2, locking in the advantage by tightening up her game when she most needed to.
Gauff praised Raducanu’s fighting qualities given the injury she suffered in Auckland last week
Defeat to Gauff saw Raducanu’s Grand Slam struggles since she won the US Open continue
RE-LIVE HOW THE MATCH UNFOLDED BELOW WITH ADAM SHERGOLD