Eyeing her fourth Grand Slam win, world number one Iga Swiatek needed just 55 minutes on Friday to beat Spanish qualifier Cristina Bucsa and breeze into the Australian Open fourth round.
In the men’s competition, third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the fourth round after a straight-set victory over Tallon Griekspoor in the Australian Open, as the Greek star is now among the favourites for his first Grand Slam win after the early exit of Rafael Nadal and Casper Ruud.
Tsitsipas, the highest seed left in the men’s draw, beat the 63rd-ranked Dutchman 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 as he has yet to drop a set in Melbourne.
He will face Jannik Sinner, seeded 15th, next after the Italian fought back from two sets down to beat Marton Fucsovics of Hungary 4-6 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-0. It is the first time in his career that he has come back from two sets down to win at a Grand Slam.
Meanwhile, sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime beat Francisco Cerundolo 6-1 3-6 6-1 6-4 to set up a meeting with rising Czech star Jiri Lehecka, who beat Britain’s Cameron Norrie.
On the other hand, Poland’s Swiatek, 21, won 6-0 6-1 on Margaret Court Arena and will play Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina next.
Similarly, third seed Jessica Pegula of the US also enjoyed a speedy victory, taking 65 minutes to beat Marta Kostyuk 6-0 6-2 while seventh seed Coco Gauff advanced with a 6-3 6-2 victory over American compatriot Bernarda Pera.
“I feel I’m more and more confident since day one here. I’m not even talking about matches, but also practices,” Swiatek said.
“I feel like I’ve done so much work to feel more confident, more relaxed on court. I’m pretty happy that I did it because it’s just a little bit easier.”
Reigning French and US Open champion Swiatek faces a tough task against Rybakina, who beat last year’s Melbourne finalist Danielle Collins 6-2 5-7 6-2 to advance.
“We know each other pretty well. For me it doesn’t really matter who it’s against. I just want to stay focused on myself,” Swiatek added.
Fellow title favourite Pegula will face 2021 French Open singles champion Barbora Krejcikova for a place in the quarter-finals, while Gauff plays 2017 Roland Garros winner Jelena Ostapenko.
Czech Krejcikova beat Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina 6-2 6-3, while Latvia’s Ostapenko claimed a 6-3 6-0 win against Kalinina’s compatriot Kateryna Baindl.
Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka came from a set down to beat 10th seed Madison Keys 1-6 6-2 6-1 and will face either sixth seed Maria Sakkari or Zhu Lin in the last 16.