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Coco Gauff starts Australian Open with sweep; Naomi Osaka plays well in loss

Watching the Gauff family win is inspiring
Michael Smith and Touré discuss Coco Gauff's win at the U.S. Open and how they felt watching her and her family's sacrifice result in a victory on the biggest stage.

In her first Grand Slam match since becoming a Grand Slam champion, Coco Gauff advanced to the Australian Open second round in dominant fashion — 6-3, 6-0 over 68th-ranked Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia.

Gauff won 54 of the 75 points. Schmiedlova was broken on all seven of her service games and never had a game point on serve.

No. 4 seed Gauff, who won September’s U.S. Open at age 19, next plays countrywoman Caroline Dolehide, who is ranked 42nd.

Gauff began this year by winning a tune-up event in New Zealand last week. She can become the youngest player to win multiple Slams since Maria Sharapova in 2006 and the youngest American to do so since Tracy Austin in 1981.


Last week, Gauff said it felt no different entering a Slam having already won one.

“It’s in the past,” she said of the U.S. Open triumph. “The only thing I will try to remember from that Slam is just the way that I won. It wasn’t my best tennis. It was more so the mental fire. I had some gutty matches.”

Since the U.S. Open, Gauff worked on abbreviating her serve motion with Andy Roddick, one of the best servers in history. Brad Gilbert, one of Gauff’s coaches, also coached Roddick to a U.S. Open title in 2003.

Gauff has also been open about lofty ambitions, including being one of the busiest athletes at the Paris Olympics. As for Slam titles?

“Double-digits would be pretty awesome,” she said. “I don’t know if it will happen, but I think that’s a high goal. I think setting my goals high pushes me beyond what I think I can do.”

Also Monday, No. 16 seed Caroline Garcia of France powered past four-time major champion Naomi Osaka 6-4, 7-6 (2) in Osaka’s first Grand Slam match since July childbirth. Osaka had 11 aces in a strong serving day, but Garcia was even better on serve and didn’t allow a single break point.

“I did the best that I could possibly do,” Osaka said. “I was constantly on my back foot and really hesitant. I think it might be because I haven’t played matches in a while. I was a little bit overthinking in my head where to go. Yeah, of course, I think that’s something that will come in time.”

Three-time major champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist Andy Murray said it’s possible he played his final Australian Open match after losing 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 to 30th seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina.

“I have an idea of what I would probably like to finish playing,” the 36-year-old Murray said. “The time frame for that narrows when you play and have results like today. ... I haven’t gained in belief from today’s match that at some stage I’m going to start playing really well again or winning tournaments or getting to the latter stages of major events.”

Murray hasn’t made it past the third round of a major since returning from January 2019 hip resurfacing surgery.

“It’s difficult when you played at the top of the game, I think, to change your perspective on how you should be performing and how you should be doing,” he said. “I would have the highest expectations, and a lot of the players coming back, like Osakas, and Wozniackis, Kerbers, Rafa, all of them have played right at the top of the game. It’s difficult if you come back, and you’re not at that same level.”

The 93rd-ranked Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine ousted Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova 6-1, 6-2.

The Czech Vondrousova withdrew from a tune-up event last week with a right hip injury. Yastremska had lost her previous seven first-round matches at Slams.

Tuesday’s lineup includes first-round matches for Iga Swiatek and Carlos Alcaraz.