Coco Gauff successfully avoided the upset bug on Sunday as she kicked off her second week campaign at the 2024 Australian Open with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Magdalena Fręch, guaranteeing the No. 4 seed a career-best run and maiden quarterfinal appearance in Melbourne.
“I want to see the Iron Claw tonight,” Gauff joked on court of her quick finish before saluting Aussie legend Rod Laver in the stands. “It was an honor to play in front of you!”
Appearing on Rod Laver Arena less than 24 hours after world No. 1 Iga Swiatek exited the tournament at the hands of an on-fire Linda Noskova, Gauff maintained her perfect 9-0 start to the season and won an 11th straight match at a Grand Slam, dismissing the unseeded Pole in 63 minutes.
Fręchis one of six women making their second-week debut at a major tournament. Despite never winning a match in two previous main-draw appearances Down Under, the 26-year-old turned heads when she shocked No. 16 seed Caroline Garcia—herself fresh off an impressive win over former world No. 1 Naomi Osaka—en route to the Round of 16, where an in-form Gauff was waiting.
Where Fręch navigated a pair of three-setters to reach the second week, Gauff has been far stingier in her first major appearance since winning the 2023 US Open: out of six sets played, only one was more competitive than 6-3, a first-set tiebreaker against Guadalajara runner-up Caroline Dolehide.
The teenager was at her most imperious in the third round against American Alycia Parks, dropping just two games against her big-serving countrywoman to reach the fourth round in Melbourne for a second straight year.
Looking to make the last eight for the first time, Gauff set to work on dismantling Fręch’s defenses, striking eight winners in the first set while drawing 12 errors from her less-experienced opponent.
Breaking the Pole three times in the opening set, the 19-year-old, who began the year by defending her ASB Classic title in Auckland, drew Fręch into a marathon third game that saw her miss out on two break chances only to convert the third behind some well-struck forehands.
A game from victory, Gauff kept pressing on return and was rewarded with three match points after ripping a forehand winner into the open court, converting her second with a backhand pass that dropped inside the baseline.
Standing between Gauff and a second straight Grand Slam semifinal will be the winner of a surprise fourth-round clash between former junior champ Marta Kostyuk and qualifier Maria Timofeeva, who won back-to-back stunners over Caroline Wozniacki and No. 10 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia.