Aus Open: Swiatek beats Osorio, Pegula takes down Sasnovich to enter third round

by IANS |

Melbourne, Jan 18 (IANS) World No 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland has soared into the third round of the Australian Open, overcoming a pair of late-set stumbles here at Rod Laver Arena to dismiss Colombian Camila Osorio.

Swiatek closed out a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Osorio in 84 minutes to win her 12th straight second-round match at a major. The Pole star hasn't lost before the third round of a major since the 2019 US Open.

Swiatek has now won 53 of her first 65 main-draw Grand Slam singles matches. In the Open Era, only six players had more such wins after their first 65 matches in majors: Margaret Court (61), Monica Seles (60), Chris Evert (57), Martina Hingis (56), Billie Jean King (56) and Tracy Austin (54).

Osorio's abilities to hyperextend rallies and change the direction of the ball down the line at a moment's notice allowed her to hang with the World No.1 in a number of close games. She even broke Swiatek three times, including when the Pole served for the match at 6-2, 5-1.

But in the end, the Swiatek power game which has led her to the top of the rankings was the determining factor. She used her forehand to great effect, with 13 rally winners from that side.

"It was really intense, and pretty physical. I think it was much tougher than what the score says. I know Osorio is gonna fight till the end and she's not going to give anything for free," Swiatek said in a press conference. "She made some good decisions as well. I'm pretty happy that I was solid, and that's the most important thing for me."

On the other hand, the No.3 seed Jessica Pegula edged Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 7-6(5) here at Rod Laver Arena to reach the last-32 for the ninth time in the last 10 majors. This was the second time in five months that the American beat Sasnovich at a Grand Slam.

Having just played her at the last hard-court Grand Slam (2022 US Open), Pegula said she was ready for the challenge that World No.38 Sasnovich posed, a player who just missed out on the Top 32 seeds.

"At the Open, I won 4 and 4, but I definitely felt like it easily could've been the other way," Pegula was quoted by WTA. "So, I was definitely ready for her to get streaky, to get hot, and I'm just glad that I was able to close it out in two (sets). Even though it seemed like I was cruising, I had a lot of tough services games, a lot of long return games as well. It toughens you up."

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