Misc Tennis

Sabalenka, Gauff cruise into quarterfinals at Australian Open

Storm Sanders was Australiaโ€™s hero after she won the first singles rubber before returning for the deciding doubles match alongside 38-year-old Samantha Stosur.

Belarusโ€™ Aryna Sabalenka celebrates winning her fourth-round match against Amanda Anisimova of the U.S.
| Photo Credit: Reuters

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka and 4th-ranked Coco Gauff cruised into the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on January 21 with commanding wins.

No. 2 Sabalenka, who won her first slam title here last year, beat Amanada Anisimova 6-3, 6-2 while Gauff, who picked up her first major at the U.S. Open in September, crushed Magdalena Frech 6-1, 6-2.

Anisimova had won four of their previous five meetings but the American was powerless to stop the power of the Belarusian, who hit 18 winners.

โ€œIโ€™m super-happy with the level, happy to get this win, sheโ€™s a tough opponent,โ€ Sabalenka said. โ€œI love the atmosphere here, I love playing in front of you guys. I really want to stay as long as possible and hopefully we can get this thing one more time.โ€

A brief rain delay at 4-1 in the first set stopped Sabalenkaโ€™s momentum but she quickly regrouped and pulled away in the second set. Sheโ€™ll meet either 16-year-old Russian Mirra Andreeva or No. 9 Barbora Krejcikova in the last eight.

Gauff was the first woman through, needing just 63 minutes to see off Frech in a match played on Rod Laver Arena in front of the man himself.

โ€œLuckily when I saw him come in I was already well up,โ€ Gauff said. โ€œI heard clapping and knew it wasnโ€™t for us, it was only the first set. But thank you for coming, itโ€™s an honor.โ€

Gauff will play Marta Kostyuk or Maria Tomafeeva next.

Still a teenager, Gauff drew attention to her shoes, which carry a number of messages, including one that says: โ€˜you can change the world with your racquet,โ€™ something her father told her as a little girl.

โ€œSometimes when my mom thinks Iโ€™m negative when I look down, Iโ€™m just looking at my shoe, just a reminder that life is much more than tennis, how I do on the court does not define me as a person,โ€ she said.

โ€œThat goes for everyone. Your workplace, whatever you do, doesnโ€™t define you as a person. Just surround yourself with good people. Everything I do on court is a plus to my life. I have everything I need. This is just all extra.โ€

Menโ€™s No. 1 Novak Djokovic plays his fourth-round match later Sunday afternoon against Adrian Mannarino of France.

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