Seventh seed Coco Gauff cruised safely into the Australian Open fourth round with a straight-sets victory over compatriot Bernarda Pera on Friday.
Gauff, 18, triumphed 6-3 6-2 in one hour and 35 minutes in a competitive contest where Pera, 10 years the teenager's senior, put up a fight with her powerful left-sided forehand a feature in their first-ever meeting.
But Gauff made fewer unforced errors and produced seven aces to help her clinch a fourth-round meeting with 17th seed Jelena Ostapenko.
"Today was a tough match," Gauff said during his on-court post-match interview. "Bernarda hit the ball really hard. I was really just trying to hang in there and take the ground when I could.
"Last season she had a long match streak so I knew she'd be a tough player to beat. But I'm happy to be through to the second week."
The 2022 French Open finalist broke Pera in the fourth game and secured the opening frame inside 48 minutes.
Gauff went two breaks up in the second set, leading 4-1, but Pera offered some resistance with a break back on a double fault from the teenager. But Gauff responded to progress, converting her fourth match point.
Data Slam: Gauff maintains hot start to 2023
Gauff, who knocked off 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the second round, continued her perfect start to the calendar year, having triumphed at the Auckland Open earlier this month. Gauff won five matches in Auckland, including the final 6-1 6-1 over Rebeka Masarova.
Pera – 1/7
Gauff – 7/3
Pera – 24/40
Gauff – 23/29
BREAK POINTS WON
Pera – 1/5
Gauff – 4/16