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Gauff, Sabalenka advance to Australian Open quarterfinals

Delray Beach resident will face Marta Kostyuk on Monday
Coco Gauff of the U.S. celebrates after defeating Magdalena Frech of Poland in their fourth round match at the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)
Posted at 1:32 PM, Jan 21, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-21 13:32:50-05

MELBOURNE, Australia — Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka and U.S. Open winner Coco Gauff of Delray Beach cruised into the Australian Open women's quarterfinals with commanding wins Sunday.

Gauff, who picked up her first major at the U.S. Open in September, beat Magdalena Frech 6-1, 6-2. No. 2-ranked Sabalenka, who won her first Slam title here last year, beat Amanada Anisimova 6-3, 6-2.

Gauff was the first woman through, needing just 63 minutes to defeat Frech in a match played on Rod Laver Arena — in front of the Australian great.

"Luckily when I saw him come in I was already well up," Gauff said. "I heard clapping and knew it wasn't for us, it was only the first set. But thank you for coming, it's an honor."

On Monday, Gauff will play Marta Kostyuk after the Ukrainian beat Maria Tomafeeva 6-2, 6-1 to reach the major quarterfinals for the first time.

Still a teenager, Gauff drew attention to her shoes, which carry a number of messages, including one that says: 'you can change the world with your racket,' something her father told her as a little girl.

Anisimova had won four of their previous five meetings but she didn't have the answers this time to counter the power of the Belarusian, who hit 18 winners.

"I'm super-happy with the level, happy to get this win, she's a tough opponent," Sabalenka said. "I love the atmosphere here, I love playing in front of you guys. I really want to stay as long as possible and hopefully we can get this thing one more time."

A brief rain delay at 4-1 in the first set stopped Sabalenka's momentum but she quickly recovered and pulled away in the second set. She'll meet 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva or No. 9 Barbora Krejcikova in the last eight.