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Jan 21, 2024 11:41 am

Barbora Krejcikova rallies to advance to quarters in Australia

Ninth-seeded Barbora Krejcikova overcame a first-set setback to post a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Mirra Andreeva on Sunday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

In the process, Krejcikova avenged a pair of losses to Andreeva in 2023, including one at Wimbledon.

The Czech toppled the 16-year-old Russian in one hour, 59 minutes to set up a match against defending champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. Krejcikova advanced to the quarterfinals of this tournament for the second time, having also done so in 2022.

“I’m really happy that I’m in a quarterfinal because I had really difficult matches,” Krejcikova said. “To compare it with the last time, I don’t really remember the last time, so I don’t really remember the feelings and the emotions that I had.

“This year, it’s a new year. It’s a different tournament. I just go on and I just fight for every single ball.”

Krejcikova rebounded from a difficult first set to record 28 winners to just 18 unforced errors over the final two sets.

The Czech won the French Open in 2021. Her only other quarterfinals appearance in a Grand Slam came in 2021 at the U.S. Open.

Sabalenka, the second seed, made quick work of American Amanda Anisimova, recording a 6-3, 6-2 win in 70 minutes.

In reaching the quarterfinals, Sabalenka has yet to drop a set and has not allowed more than three games in a set to any opponent.

“I’m super happy with the level. Happy to get this win,” Sabalenka said, spotting fans wearing T-shirts that spelled out A-R-Y-N-A, pointing to them and smiling. “That’s why I’m getting stronger because I enjoy the atmosphere so much.”

Sabalenka has won five of six career matches against Krejcikova.

Also Sunday, American Coco Gauff rolled to a 6-1, 6-2 win over Poland’s Magdalena Frech in 63 minutes.

The fourth-seeded Gauff took command in the first set, delivering eight winners to just two for Frech, who also committed 12 unforced errors.

Gauff offset a 40 percent mark in first-serve percentage by owning a second-serve, points-won percentage of 89.

Gauff said she was honored to play in Rod Laver Arena — in front of Rod Laver himself — and talked about the inspirational messages on her shoes that she wore in the victory.

One of the messages is “‘You can change the world with your racket,'” she said, “something my dad told me since I was a little girl. And an inspiration of why I always feel like it’s important to speak up and speak out about certain issues.”

Gauff, 19, next fwill ace Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine, who continued the trend of straight-sets victories Sunday, disposing of Maria Timofeeva of Russia, 6-2, 6-1.

Kostyuk had 19 winners and converted four of her five break points, while Timofeeva was 0-for-4 on break chances and committed 20 unforced errors.

–Field Level Media

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