French Open 2023: Coco Gauff edges battle of the teenagers with Mirra Andreeva to reach last 16

Battling through: Coco Gauff is into to the last 16 of the French Open at Roland Garros (Getty Images)
Battling through: Coco Gauff is into to the last 16 of the French Open at Roland Garros (Getty Images)

Coco Gauff won the much-hyped battle of the teenagers against Mirra Andreeva to book her place in the last 16 of the French Open on Saturday.

The 16-year-old Andreeva had been on a run at Roland Garros with slight echoes of Emma Raducanu at the US Open in 2021, after coming through both qualifying and the early rounds without dropping a set.

She continued that run as she edged a tight first set on a tiebreak before last year’s tournament runner-up Gauff, who is three years her senior, upped her aggression to fight back for a 6-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory.

Momentum had undulated in that set from Andreeva having two chances for a 5-2 lead, only to be broken to the Russian then catching out Gauff when the American was serving for the set at 5-4.

There was a dramatic end to the subsequent tiebreak when Andreeva received a code violation for hitting her racket on the ground before rounding off the set with the very next point.

Gauff, who seemed a relative veteran in contrast to her opponent who was making her Grand Slam debut, raised her level and her rival could not stay with her. In the subsequent two sets, Andreeva managed just eight winners and was guilty of 23 unforced errors.

Despite her exit, it has been a meteoric rise from outside the world’s top 300 a month ago to encroaching into the top 100 when the rankings are reordered next week.

Afterwards, Gauff was quick to pay tribute to her opponent. She said: “I remember I was playing here at 16 years old. She has a lot to look forward to. She has a bright future.”

Iga Swiatek, who beat Gauff in the final a year ago, had the most comfortable of victories as she cruised past Wang Xinyu 6-0, 6-0.

But the hopes of Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina are over after she bowed out of the tournament shortly before her third-round match because of illness.

She said: “I was not sleeping well for two days. I had fever, a headache. It’s difficult to perform, to run and even breathe. So I think that was the only right decision I could make.”

Ons Jabeur avoided an upset against Olga Danilovic, fighting back from a set down to beat the world No105 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.