Coco Gauff plays a backhand Venus Williams on day one of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 20, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia.
While one Williams sister advanced to the second round of the Australian Open, another is done at the hands of an American teenager and skyrocketing star in the tennis world.
No. 8 Serena Williams advanced easily after beating Russia’s Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-3, but older sister Venus Williams faced Coco Gauff in a rematch of the Wimbledon opener last year. Gauff was a qualifier then and making her Grand Slam debut, and this is her first time competing in the main draw at the Australian Open.
Williams, 39, was the oldest player in the women’s draw and Gauff the youngest at 15, and it was the teenager who came away with the victory, winning 7-6 (5), 6-3. Between the two of them, Serena and Venus Williams have won nine Olympic medals, including eight golds. Serena enters the tournament with an Open Era record 23 Grand Slam singles titles, one short of tying the all-time record.
A total of 11 U.S. women are moving on after the first round of the first Grand Slam of 2020.
Four other ranked U.S. women remain alive. No. 18 Alison Riske beat China’s Wang Yafan 7-6 (5), 2-6, 6-3; No. 14 Sofia Kenin, a 2014 Youth Olympian, beat Italy’s Martina Trevisan, 6-2, 6-4; and No. 10 Madison Keys defeated Russia’s Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 6-1. Rounding out the ranked players still in the hunt, No. 26 Danielle Collins defeated Russia’s Vitalia Diatchenko 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.
Caty McNally also advanced to the next round with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Australia’s Samantha Stosur; CiCi Bellis beat Germany’s Tatjana Maria 6-0, 6-2; Lauren Davis beat Canada’s Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-2; and Ann Li beat Australia’s Lizette Cabrera 7-6 (4), 7-6 (10).
The final first-round women’s match featured two Americans, with Taylor Townsend beating Jessica Pegula 6-4, 7-6.
Two seeded U.S. women were upset in the first round, with No. 24 Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open champ, falling to China’s Zhang Shuai, 2-6, 7-5, 6-2, and No. 21 Amanda Anisimova losing to Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
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Seven other U.S. women lost in the first round.
Kristie Ahn fell to Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki, 6-1, 6-3; 2012 Olympian Christine McHale lost to No. 13 Petra Martic of Croatia 6-3, 6-0; Bernarda Pera fell to No. 29 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-2; and Madison Brengle lost to France’s Carolina Garcia 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-2. Jennifer Brady lost to No. 4 Simona Halep of Romania 7-6 (5), 6-1, while CoCo Vandeweghe is also out after losing to Germany’s Laura Siegemund 6-1, 6-4. Shelby Rogers fell to Spain’s Garbine Muguruza 0-6, 6-1, 6-0.
On the men’s side, the U.S. has two seeded players and six remaining in the tournament.
John Isner holds the highest rank at No. 19, and he beat Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro in a match where every set was decided by tiebreaker, winning 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5). Isner announced before the competition started that he would donate 25 percent of his winnings and $100 per ace to help support those impacted by the fires in Australia.
Taylor Fritz, ranked No. 29, also advanced to the second round by beating Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.
They’ll join four other U.S. men in Round 2.
Tennys Sandgren beat qualifier Marco Trungelliti of Argentina 6-1, 6-4, 7-5, while Sam Querrey toppled No. 25 Borna Coric of Croatia in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. Michael Mmoh beat Pablo Andujar of Spain 6-1, 6-4, 6-4, and Tommy Paul dropped the first set but handled the next three, beating Leonardo Mayer of Argentina 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
Steve Johnson landed an unfortunate first-round matchup against No. 3 Roger Federer and lost to the Swiss superstar in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, and Frances Tiafoe is also out after a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 loss to No. 4 Daniil Medvedev of Russia.
Reilly Opelka fell to No. 12 Fabio Fognini of Italy on a tiebreaker, 3-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (5), in a match filled with outbursts by both players that generated more attention than the tennis itself. Mackenzie McDonald lost to No. 30 Dan Evans of Great Britain 3-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3; Marcos Giron lost to Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber, 7-5, 6-1, 6-2; and Christopher Eubanks fell to Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk 7-6 (1), 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.