Sabalenka, Gauff cruise into quarterfinals at Australian Open

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka and No. 4 Coco Gauff are through to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open after commanding wins

January 21, 2024 10:58 am | Updated 10:59 am IST - MELBOURNE, Australia

Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka celebrates winning her fourth-round match against Amanda Anisimova of the U.S.

Belarus’ 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.

“I’m super-happy with the level, happy to get this win, she’s a tough opponent,” Sabalenka said. “I 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.”

A brief rain delay at 4-1 in the first set stopped Sabalenka’s momentum but she quickly regrouped and pulled away in the second set. She’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.

“Luckily when I saw him come in I was already well up,” Gauff said. “I heard clapping and knew it wasn’t for us, it was only the first set. But thank you for coming, it’s an honor.”

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: ‘you can change the world with your racquet,’ something her father told her as a little girl.

“Sometimes when my mom thinks I’m negative when I look down, I’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,” she said.

“That goes for everyone. Your workplace, whatever you do, doesn’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.”

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

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