Jabeur Survives While Sabalenka, Garcia Roll Into Australian Open 2R; Coco v Raducanu Tonight!

by Staff | January 17th, 2023, 4:50 pm
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Ons Jabeur has hopes of winning a Grand Slam this year, but that bid got off to a rocky start at the Australian Open. The word No. 2 was made to battle against former French semifinals Tamara Zidansek before coming through 7-6(8), 4-6, 6-1.

After fighting back down 4-1, the Slovenian Zidansek had multiple chances to take the opener, but got the second set. However, Jabeur pulled away late for the win.

“It was a very tough match,” Jabeur said. “I wasn’t playing very well, and she was putting a lot of pressure on me. She’s a player that doesn’t give up and brings every ball in, so I was getting pretty frustrated. I told myself to be No.2 in the world and just win this match.”

The day began with 2-time US Open semifinalist Aryna Sabalenka easing past Tereza Martincova 6-1, 6-4. Caroline Garcia blew away Canadian qualifier Katherine Sebov 6-3, 6-0 and Elise Mertens came from a set down to defeat former finalist Garbine Muguruza 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-1.

Belinda Bencic, Leylah Fernandez, Anett Kontaveit and 17-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova were also winners.

Due to weather, 12 matches from the first round will be finished on Wednesday. But the big headliner tonight in the mouth-watering match-up between former US Open champion Emma Raducanu against Coco Gauff. The two youngsters have never played before.

“Obviously she’s gone through a lot of pressure, bursting onto the scene,” said Gauff who ranks 70 spots ahead of the Brit. “I feel like probably more than I have experienced coming to win a Slam. And especially I feel like being from the UK, being the first British person to do something in a long time, probably is a lot more pressure than what I’m used to being an American.

“I definitely can relate to bursting onto the scene and dealing with some pressure but I don’t think to that level.”

Raducanu collected a win on Monday and more importantly her ankle is ok.

“I think she’s a great athlete,” Raducanu said . “When she first came at Wimbledon, I think after that, took her a little bit to adjust as well, but then she definitely found her feet. She’s playing really good tennis and looking really solid right now. Yeah, she’s a great athlete with some big weapons.

“Yeah, it’s going to be a tough opponent. I’m looking forward to the occasion.”

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek is also in action plus Jessica Pegula, Madison Keys, Danielle Collins and former champion Victoria Azarenka.

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