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Coco Gauff has 'nothing to los...
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Coco Gauff has 'nothing to lose' ahead of Australian Open meeting with Naomi Osaka

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

16:54 22 Jan 2020

Teen sensation Coco Gauff has set up a mouth-watering 3rd round encounter with defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka.

15-year old Gauff came from a set down and 3-0 down in the deciding set to beat Romania's Sorana Cirstea 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 on the Melbourne Arena.

While back on Margaret Court, Osaka dispatched China's Zheng Saisai 6-2, 6-4 in 80-minutes.

It will be the second consecutive Grand Slam in which Gauff and Osaka have come face-to-face, with Osaka prevailing in last year's US Open 3rd round in straight sets.

Speaking after her win over Cirstea, Gauff said she would be able to better handle the occasion when she meets the 3rd seed, "I think I'll be less nervous this time, I think US Open I was nervous - it was my first time on the [Arthur] Ashe [Court].

"I mean, we're both familiar with each other's games, she plays really aggressive [sic] so this time coming in I'm going to try and be more aggressive"

In her typically understated manner Gauff exuded a degree of confidence, "For sure I'm more confident because I've felt her ball before, so yeah I think I'm more confident this time around."

While she's already ranked 66 in the world, it's important to remember Gauff is still only playing a fourth ever Grand Slam and is very much in the process of learning her craft.

The Florida native says that informs her approach to such big matches, "In general my mindset has always been 'nothing to lose', really.

"Even though I was ranked pretty high in juniors and I was technically 'supposed' to win then I still felt like I had nothing to lose, so I still feel that now.

"I think my mindset just is I'm going to fight and if I lose the world's not going to end and I'm still going to have another match in a week or so."

After winning in Melbourne last year and reaching world number 1, Osaka's form subsequently suffered a noticeable dip, perhaps connected to her parting ways with coach Sascha Bajin.

But she feels she's better equipped mentally at being the player others all want to beat, "I didn't deal with that well after this tournament last year, I'll tell you.

"Now I think of it as a nice challenge. Someone wanting to play their best against me is something I have to feel fortunate about, because it's how I get better."

Elsewhere on day-4 there were 2nd round wins for women's top seed Ashleigh Barty, Serena Williams, 7th seed Petra Kvitova and the retiring Caroline Wozniacki.

In the men's draw, Novak Djokovic needed just 95-minutes to beat Japanese wildcard Tatsuma Ito in straight sets.

Also through to round 3 are Roger Federer and 6th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

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Read more about

Ashleigh Barty Australian Open Coco Gauff Naomi Osaka Novak Djokovic Petra Kvitova Serena Williams Tennis

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