Coco Gauff, the fourth seed and US Open champion, sailed through her first Grand Slam match at the Australian Open with a confident 6-3 6-0 victory against Slovakia's Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. Overcoming early nerves, Gauff credited her positive mindset and a self-pep talk, saying, "I told myself: 'I feel good, I look good, so just have fun.' I was able to relax." Gauff's smooth performance marked a strong start as she aims to make her mark in the tournament.
On the other hand, Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova faced an unexpected early exit on day two, losing 6-1 6-2 to Ukrainian qualifier Dayana Yastremska. Yastremska, motivated by the ongoing war in Ukraine and the recent rocket strike on her grandmother's house, expressed pride in her country's resilience.
She emphasized the need to support Ukraine during these challenging times. Meanwhile, fellow Ukrainian player Elina Svitolina, the 19th seed, secured a swift 6-2 6-2 victory over Australian wildcard Taylah Preston in 59 minutes.
Yastremska's powerful performance on the court, fueled by a deep connection to the conflict in Ukraine, adds a poignant layer to the Australian Open, highlighting the personal challenges faced by players amidst global events. Svitolina's success also contributes to the resilience and determination shown by Ukrainian athletes during these trying times.