Coco Gauff won the battle of tennis prodigies on Wednesday at the Australian Open – then said she “got lucky” on the way to defeating Emma Raducanu in straight sets.
The seventh seed won 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) to reach the third round in Melbourne and will play China’s Zheng Qinwen or fellow American Bernada Pera.
There were 70 places separating Gauff and 2021 US Open champion Raducanu in the rankings, but you wouldn’t have known it as the pair tussled for an hour and 42 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.
It was a highly anticipated first tour-level match between the young talents and they did not disappoint.
The good friends went toe-to-toe throughout, exchanging service breaks, but the turning point came in the second set when Gauff grittily saved two set points serving at 4-5.
“I think I did a good job not freaking out on my serve,” the 18-year-old told reporters.
“Honestly, one of those set points definitely probably had the ball on her racquet with the drop shot. I got a little bit lucky there.”
Gauff then edged past the Briton on her third match point in the tiebreak, before they embraced warmly at the net.
“I just told myself to hang in there and I was playing really good tennis towards…