Pegula, Gauff, Swiatek cruise into 4th round at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia — American title contenders Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff had convincing third-round wins on Friday (Thursday night PT) at the Australian Open.

The third-seeded Pegula, a quarterfinalist the past two years at Melbourne Park, needed just 65 minutes for a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Marta Kostyuk. Seventh-seeded Gauff beat Bernarda Pera, 6-3, 6-2, to reach the last 16.

Pegula raced through the first set and though Kostyuk established herself in the second set, she was always playing catch-up.

“I thought I just didn’t give away a lot of free points,” said Pegula, who will meet Barbora Krejcikova, the 2021 French Open champion, in the next round. “I was playing aggressive when I had to but also smart. Happy to be through to the next round.”

Gauff had to withstand a barrage of big hitting from Pera.

“Today was a tough match,” Gauff said. “Bernarda hit the … I can’t say that word … she hit the ball really hard, I was just trying to hang in there. I’m happy to be through to the second week.”

Top-seeded Iga Swiatek beat Cristina Bucsa, a qualifier from Spain, 6-0, 6-1, in just 55 minutes. American Danielle Collins, a finalist last year, was beaten, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2, by Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.

Krejcikova was the first player to advance to the fourth round after a 6-2, 6-3 win over Anhelina Kalinina to open play Friday at Rod Laver Arena.

The 20th-seeded Czech player won the first five games of the match and dominated her Ukrainian opponent. Krejcikova has not dropped a set in three matches.

In men’s play, Stefanos Tsitsipas will take on Jannik Sinner in the fourth round.

Third-seeded Tsitsipas saved a set point in the second set but beat Tallon Griekspoor, 6-2, 7-6 (5), 6-3, to reach the last 16 at Melbourne Park for the third time in four years.

Sinner recovered from two sets down for the first time in his career as he beat Marton Fucsovics, 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-0, after 3 hours, 33 minutes, winning the last 12 games.

“For sure the first two sets were very tough for me,” the 21-year-old Italian and 15th-seeded player said. “I went on court with one tactic, then I had to change a little bit, going a little more to his backhand. We made a lot of work in the off-season physically so today I was good physically in the last few sets.”

Tsitsipas, the highest-ranked player left in the men’s draw following the exits of top-seeded and defending champion Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Casper Ruud, was pushed hard in the second set by the 63rd-ranked Griekspoor.

The Dutch player had a set point on Tsitsipas’ serve at 6-5 in the second set but couldn’t convert it and Tsitsipas pulled away for the victory.

Tsitsipas and Sinner have played five times, with the Greek player leading 4-1. The 24-year-old is a three-time Australian Open semifinalist and was the 2021 French Open runner-up to Novak Djokovic. Sinner reached the quarterfinals in Melbourne last year.

More to come on this story.

Seventh-seeded American Coco Gauff celebrates after defeating compatriot Bernarda Pera, 6-3, 6-2, in their third-round match at the Australian Open on Friday (Thursday night PT) in Melbourne. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

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