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2023 Australian Open: Gauff, Pegula keep rolling into Round 4; Korda downs Medvedev

Victoria Chiesa | January 19, 2023


Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula have barely broken a sweat to reach Round 4 of the Australian Open.

 

The two highest-ranking American woman rolled through their respective third-round matches on Friday to lead the American contingent through to the second week of the tournament, while Sebastian Korda bookended the day's play with a straight-sets upset of No. 7 seed and two-time defending finalist Daniil Medvedev. Saturday saw the U.S. men take center stage, as five of the eight to reach Round 3 took the court hoping to book a spot in the second week. 

 

Read on for more third-round news and notes from Melbourne. 

 

Gauff, Pegula through to last 16 without losing a set

Through three rounds, both Gauff and Pegula haven't lost a set. No. 3 seed Pegula was a 6-0, 6-2 winner over Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk to move through to the last 16 for the third straight year, while Gauff beat fellow American Bernarda Pera 6-3, 6-2 to return to the fourth round for the first time since 2020. 

Both matches were closer than the scorelines suggested. Four of the six games in the first set between Kostyuk and Pegula extended to multiple deuces, and the American lost serve twice in the second set. 

 

In three matches so far, Pegula has lost only 11 games in six sets.

 

"I think the score obviously looked dominant, but there was a lot of really tough games in that match," Pegula said in victory. "She can be really a dangerous player.

 

"I think I just did a good job of playing every single point, every single game, really tough, not letting her kind of get any free points or free games. I made her really have to earn it today. I think that paid off."

Gauff, meanwhile, was pushed by Pera in their first-ever meeting, but relied on a blend of elite speed, defense, and finishing power to ultimately come through in 94 minutes. Pera saved 12 of the 16 break points that Gauff created in the match and hit one more winner (24) than her younger compatriot. However, she hit 40 unforced errors in the match.

 

The other two American seeds, No. 10 Madison Keys and No. 13 Danielle Collins, however, saw their tournaments end. Collins, the 2022 AO finalist, was beaten in three sets by reigning Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina 6-2, 5-7, 6-2, while 2022 semifinalist Keys won the first set against two-time former champion Victoria Azarenka but was ultimately beaten by the former world No. 1 for the fourth time in four career meetings 1-6, 6-2, 6-1.

 

Qualifier Katie Volynets, who upset No. 9 seed Veronika Kudermetova in Round 2, saw her run end on Saturday against No. 23 seed Zhang Shuai, 6-3, 6-2. 

 

American Women at the 2023 Australian Open - Round 3 Results

(3) Jessica Pegula def. Marta Kostyuk (UKR) - 6-0, 6-2

(7) Coco Gauff def. Bernarda Pera - 6-3, 6-2

(24) Victoria Azarenka def. (10) Madison Keys - 1-6, 6-2, 6-1

(22) Elena Rybakina (KAZ) def. (13) Danielle Collins - 6-2, 5-7, 6-2

(23) Zhang Shuai def. (Q) Katie Volynets - 6-3, 6-2

 

Korda knocks out Medvedev to reach AO fourth round for first time

While Gauff and Pegula are back into the last 16, Korda is headed there for the first time after beating two-time defending finalist Medvedev in a straight-sets stunner under the Friday night lights. The 29th-seeded American scored his first Top 10 win at a Grand Slam event over the former world No. 1 in a tick under three hours, 7-6(7), 6-3, 7-6(4).

 

“It was an unbelievable match,” Korda said on-court afterwards. I kind of knew what I had to do. I stuck with it even when I was going up and down with the emotions, but I’m thrilled right now, I played amazing, and it was an unbelievable match from me.”

 

Korda set the tone for his victory by coming out firing, opening up a 4-1 double-break lead in the first set. Though he was pegged back even, he held his nerve to later wrap up the opener in a lengthy 80-plus minutes. After failing to serve out the set at 5-4, he was two points away from losing it serving at deuce at 6-5. He later needed three set points to win an extended tiebreak.

 

An early break in the second set helped him coast to a two-sets-to-love lead, but the playbook from the first set repeated similarly in the third: Serving at 4-3, 40-15, Korda lost eight straight points to lose his lead. It proved just a blip: He built a 6-1 lead in the tiebreak, and converted his third match point.

 

Korda is the only American man left in the top half after No. 16 seed Frances Tiafoe and Mackenzie McDonald were both beaten on Friday. Tiafoe fell in four sets to No. 18 seed Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(9), failing to convert a 6-1 lead in the fourt-set tiebreak to extend the match, while McDonald was undone by an abdominal injury in a 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-2 loss to No. 31 seed Yoshihito Nishioka. 

 

A pair of all-American Round 3 matches highlighted the bottom half of the draw on Saturday, and they were won by Tommy Paul and J.J. Wolf. The two combined to lose just 15 games in six sets against Jenson Brooksby and Michael Mmoh, respectively. 

 

Closing out Saturday's American action was former University of Florida star Ben Shelton, who made it four U.S. men in the fourth round with a 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-4 win against Aussie Alexei Popyrin. The 20-year-old Shelton is playing in just his second Grand Slam after debuting at the 2022 US Open, where he received a wild card as the NCAA singles champion.

 

The U.S. is guaranteed at least one man in the quarterfinals, with good friends Shelton and Wolf set to square off Monday in Melbourne.

 

American Men at the 2023 Australian Open - Round 3 Results

(18) Karen Khachanov def. (16) Frances Tiafoe - 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(9)

(29) Sebastian Korda def. (7) Daniil Medvedev - 7-6(7), 6-3, 7-6(4)

(31) Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) def. Mackenzie McDonald - 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-2

Tommy Paul def. Jenson Brooksby - 6-1, 6-4, 6-3

J.J. Wolf def. (LL) Michael Mmoh - 6-4, 6-1, 6-2

Ben Shelton def. (WC) Alexei Popyrin (AUS) - 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-4

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