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Sunday, January 29, 2023

Swietik, Pegula lead in rain-hit Australian Open

FeaturedSports NewsSwietik, Pegula lead in rain-hit Australian Open

World number one Iga Swiatek and dangerous American Jessica Pegula led the charge into the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday as wild weather wreaked havoc again.

Title favorite Swietek of Poland defeated Colombia’s Camila Osorio 6-2, 6-3 at the Rod Laver Arena, while third-seeded Pegula defeated Belarus’ Aleksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 7-6 (7/5). .

Greece’s Maria Sakari also came through, but she looked nothing but the sixth seed, a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 struggle against Russian qualifier and college student Diana Schneider.

Only matches at the three main stadiums, which have roofs, managed to start on time as incessant rain added to the scheduling backlog, and hours were again lost to the conditions.

This was followed by sweltering heat and then heavy rain on Tuesday, causing long delays and cancellations of several matches.

Switek said after a tough first-round test that he needed to find some extra “intensity,” and he found that spark against world No. 84 Osorio.

“It was really physically intense and Camila didn’t give me many points for free, so I had to really work for every one of them,” she said.

The three-time major winner will face either 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu of Canada or Spanish qualifier Cristina Bocas in the third round.

Pegula, who beat Svetec at the United Cup this month, was clinical against 38th-ranked Sasnovic in the first set, but kept her pace in the second.

But she was satisfied with her performance ahead of her next-round clash with Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk or Australia’s Olivia Giedecki.

“My game really suits the conditions in Australia,” Pegula said. “Every tournament you want to take one match at a time, but also have bigger goals.”

A sinner’s walk

In the men’s event, Italian 15th seed Jannik Sner dropped just seven games to advance to the third round with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win over Argentina’s Tomas Martin Echeverri.

He will play either South Africa’s Lloyd Harris or Hungary’s Martin Fuchsoks.

Defending champion and 22-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal is next in action against 65th-ranked American Mackenzie MacDonald.

Third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and seventh seed Daniil Medvedev, who Nadal defeated in a five-set thriller in last year’s final, are also set to feature.

Medvedev will face the home crowd when he meets Australia’s John Millman.

Tsassipas, who has yet to win a major, plays another Australian in 169th-ranked Rinke Hijikata.

Among the women, the future of women’s tennis was on full display in the evening session at Rod Laver Arena between American Coco Gough and Britain’s former US Open champion Emma Roducano.

Goff, 18, and Raducano, 20, have never played each other before.

The Brit has done something Goff has never done in winning a major, but the American is tied for seventh to his rival’s 77.

And teenager Goff is in fine form, winning the Auckland warm-up tournament to secure her third WTA crown.

Along with the complication, Raducanu has also been plagued by injuries since she stunned the tennis world by winning the US Open in 2021.

Goff says the pressure is on Raducanu, who was a doubt for Melbourne after another injury.

“Obviously she’s been through a lot of pressure, coming on the scene. I feel like I’ve probably experienced winning a Slam more than her,” Goff said.

“And especially I think being from Britain, being the first British person to do something in a long time, is probably more pressure than I’m used to as an American.”

Danielle Collins, last year’s Australian Open runner-up, will step up her bid for a first major title when she meets Czech Republic’s Karolina Mochova.

(Tags translation)Iga Swiatek(s)Jessica Pegula(s)Australian Open

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