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Teenagers flourish in Adelaide

Day 2 of the Adelaide International saw two teenagers win their opening matches when Iga Swiatek stopped qualifier Madison Brengle’s run while Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff continued her’s with a battle past Jasmine Paolini, a fellow qualifier.

We did a great job last year and hopefully this season will also be successful. But tennis-wise, it also changes that I’m not an underdog anymore, so I start my matches with a different attitude around, and that’s the kind of thing you have to learn to do. Iga Świątek

Swiatek, the reigning French Open champion, who is 19 years old and the No 5 seed here, dispatched Brengle from the United States, 6-3 6-4, with relative ease.

The Pole, coming off of her second straight appearance in the round of 16 at the Australian Open, converted all 3 of her break points in her 73-minute to avenge a defeat to Brengle in their only previous meeting, which came on the ITF Circuit in Charleston in 2018.

“Madison is the kind of player who uses her opponent’s power, so I had to stay cool,” Swiatek said in her on-court post-match interview. “I tried to calm myself down, stay low in the legs, and sometimes play longer rallies to get in the rhythm, because the first round is always tough at any tournament.”

Swiatek took control in the opening frame with aggressive play, slamming 11 winners to just 7 unforced errors as she swept to the one-set lead.

Brengle opened up a 3-1 lead in the second before Swiatek charged back, closing out the match with a love hold to wrap up 5 of the last 6 games.

Swiatek lost in 3-sets to Simona Halep at the AO, and was both disappointed and frustrated by her performance against the World No 2 when she spoke to reporters in Melbourne.

“Well, basically after my match with Simona, I was really mad at myself because I felt like I made a lot of mistakes and unforced errors in the second and third set,” she said at the time, but has since reflected on things.

“When I went to the press conference on the match, it wasn’t enough time for me to realise that she just played her best tennis and, after analysing, I confirmed to myself that it was a really good match and that day I did the most of what I could do.

“We have been working since then on some details, like receive and placement of serve. But there is not magic I can change because I feel like I played pretty good tennis in Melbourne and also right now.”

Reflecting on the start of her season so far, Swiatek is pleased with how she has handled her transition.

“I would say it’s successful because I know how hard this pre-season was for me and how my situation changed,” Swiatek said. “I didn’t have a lot of calm time during my pre-season, it was so hectic, and knowing that, I feel pretty happy with my performance.

“Obviously after winning a Grand Slam you want more than the fourth round, but I played against Simona, and as I said, I played my best tennis, so I’m happy.

“We did a great job last year and hopefully this season will also be successful. But tennis-wise, it also changes that I’m not an underdog anymore, so I start my matches with a different attitude around, and that’s the kind of thing you have to learn to do.”

Swiatek will have to keep her attitude positive in the second round, as she faces a home favourite in another qualifier, Maddison Inglis, who came through an all-Australian marathon 5-7 7-5 6-4 over wild card Samantha Stosur.

“Inside I’m the same person, but I realise that everybody’s kind of treating me differently, so it’s something you have to adjust to, and also keep yourself down to earth and the same as you were.”


Maddison Inglis took on her idol Samantha Stosur and won in 3 sets in Adelaide

© Mark Brake/Getty Images

Inglis came from 0-3 down in the decider to outlast the 2011 US Open champion in 2 hours and 46 minutes.

“I’m obviously stoked to get the win,” the 23-year old said later. “I could see Sam wasn’t 100 per cent in the third set, so I hope everything is okay with her.

“I think I got a bit lucky in the end there, but it is pretty special to play against Sam. She was an idol for me growing up and someone I’ve always looked up to, so to be on the same court with her was a really cool experience.”

The No 136-ranked Inglis started well, building an early lead and served for the opening set at 5-4, but Stosur stepped up to break her serve to love and win the final 3 games.

Games went on serve in the second, with Inglis refusing to let Stosur build on her first-set momentum, earning 6 break points in the 11th game, which she failed to convert. as Stosur saved 2 of them with aces and another 2 with winners, but on the 7th, Inglis finally broke and didn’t falter as she served out a set and levelled the match.

Stosur returned from an off-court medical timeout with her left thigh strapped, determined to shorten the points and it proved an effective tactic, helping her race to a 3-0 lead.

Inglis withstood the challenge and reeled off 8 points in a row to take the lead from 3-4 and closed out victory after 2 hours and 46 minutes on court.

It was a gallant effort from Stosur, who has only retired mid-match with injury 3 times in her 1,000 plus professional matches on tour.


Cori 'Coco' Gauff got past Jasmine Paolini to set up a meeting with Petra Martic

© Sarah Reed/Getty Images

16-year old Coco Gauff, however, was forced into three sets by Italy’s Paolini after failing to convert a match point in the second set, but ultimately came through the battle of the qualifiers, 6-4 6-7(4) 6-2.

Gauff, who needed a comeback win in the final round of qualifying to make the main draw, had a healthy 6-4, 5-3 lead over Paolini, but failed to serve out the match in that game, then squandered a match point at 6-4, 5-4.

Paolini took the early 5-3 lead in the second-set tiebreak and held on to level the match at one set apiece.

The American regrouped, and held her serve throughout the decider to advance after 2-and-a-half hard-fought hours.

Gauff’s decision to extend her stay Down Under after a second-round loss at the Australian Open is paying off, at least so far and her next opponent is the No 6 seed Petra Martic of Croatia, who also survived a marathon in the opening round on Tuesday, overcoming Russian qualifier Liudmila Samsonova, 4-6 6-0 7-5.

After dropping the first set, Martic swept through the second with ease and was up a double-break at 4-1 in the final set when Samsonova claimed both breaks back before the Croat rebounded to win 8 of the final 10 points.

Australia’s top-ranked Ash Barty, who lost in the AO quarter-finals, is the Adelaide defending champion, plays American Danielle Collins in a second-round match on Wednesday after receiving a first round bye..




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