Melbourne, Jan 20 (IANS) The No.3 seed American Jessica Pegula on Friday reached the fourth round of the Australian Open for the third straight year. Her fellow American Coco Gauff and world No.1 Iga Swiatek of Poland followed her with a win in their respective third-round matches.
Pegula outplayed Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk 6-0, 6-2 in the third round. In three matches so far, the No.3 seed has lost just 11 games in six sets.
The 65-minute third-round contest at the Margaret Court Arena was a tighter match than the scoreline suggested. Four of the six games in the first set all extended to multiple deuces, and Pegula saved five break points in the game she eventually held to lead 4-0.
The second set was more of the same. Pegula raced out to a 4-1 lead before Kostyuk got a break back. The Ukrainian later missed a forehand volley on game point for 4-3 before losing serve again and failing to convert two break points in the final game.
For a place in the quarterfinal, Pegula have to beat the 2021 Roland Garros champion, No.20 seed Ukrainian Barbora Krejickova, who booked her spot in the fourth round with a 6-2, 6-3 win over compatriot Anhelina Kalinina.
The other American player in the Top 10, Gauff, has now matched her best-ever result Down Under. The No.7 seed downed Bernarda Pera in an all-American third-round clash 6-3, 6-2 to reach the last 16 for the second time in her career.
The 18-year-old had also reached the fourth round in 2020, where she lost to eventual champion Sofia Kenin. She’ll next face 2017 Roland Garros winner Jelena Ostapenko, who beat Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl for the first time in four career meetings, 6-3, 6-0.
Meanwhile, the World No.1 Swiatek had no trouble reaching the Round of 16 for the fourth straight season, dismissing Spanish qualifier Cristina Bucsa 6-0, 6-1 on Friday.
Reigning Roland Garros and US Open champion Swiatek will now take on last season’s Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in a Round of 16. Rybakina held off last year’s runner-up Danielle Collins of the United States 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 in their third-round meeting.
Their upcoming showdown will be the first meeting between reigning Grand Slam champions since Ashleigh Barty defeated Barbora Krejcikova in the 2021 Cincinnati quarterfinals.
Earlier, No.22 seed Rybakina earned a 2-hour and 5-minute win over 13th seed Danielle Collins to book her spot in the fourth round.