Americans dominate Down Under with 14 players reaching third round at Australian Open, most since 1996

American Players (L-R) Frances Tiafoe, Coco Gauff and Danielle Collins
American Players (L-R) Frances Tiafoe, Coco Gauff and Danielle Collins

The Americans are bringing in the heat at the 2023 Australian Open with 14 players reaching the third round at the first Slam of the year.

Day 3 (January 18) and Day 4 (January 19) saw two big upsets caused by the American players, where Mackenzie McDonald took out defending champion Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 and Jenson Brooksby ousted World No. 3 Casper Ruud 6-3, 7-5, 6(4)-7,6-2 respectively in the second round.

Michael Mmoh then sent German Alexander Zverev packing with an impressive four-set win over the World No. 13, winning 6(1)-7, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. Mmoh now faces fellow countryman J.J. Wolf in the third round, who was responsible for defeating Argentina's Diego Shwartzman 6-1,6-4,6-4 in the previous round.

Another upset came at the hands of Katie Volynets, who took down ninth seed Veronika Kudermetova 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

Another interesting match-up at the Australian Open was between American teen sensation Coco Gauff and 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu, with the American prevailing 6-3, 7-6(4). Gauff took on compatriot Bernarda Pera in the third round, defeating her 6-3, 6-2.

Frances Tiafoe, meanwhile, comfortably cruised past China's Shang Juncheng 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 to book his spot in the third round. Another win for the Americans came from Sebastian Korda, who took down Japan's Yosuke Watanuki 6-2, 7-5, 6-4.

Czech Karolína Muchová gave American Danielle Collins a tough fight, with the American ultimately prevailing in 6(1)-7, 6-2, 7-6(6). In contrast, Madison Keys dominated her Chinese opponent Wang Xinyu, overpowering her 6-3, 6-2 in straight sets. Another American, World No. 3 Jessica Pegula, held her ground to take out Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 7-6(5).

Tommy Paul had to overcome Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in an epic 5-set match, coming home 6-2, 2-6, 6(4)-7, 6-3, 6-4. Another neck-to-neck competition was fought by Ben Shelton against Chilean Nicolás Jarry, with the American coming out on top 7-6(3), 7-6(3), 7-5.

The previous highest number of American players to reach the third round at the Australian Open was 15, taking place during the 1996 edition. For the first time since then, the Melbourne Major has witnessed an almost similar influx this year, with eight men and six women qualifying for the third round.

Frances Tiafoe faces Karen Khachanov in third round of the 2023 Australian Open on his 25th birthday

Frances Tiafoe at the 2023 Australian Open
Frances Tiafoe at the 2023 Australian Open

Frances Tiafoe rings in his 25th birthday on Friday (January 20) with a third-round match against Karen Khachanov at the 2023 Australian Open.

26-year-old Khachanov leads the head-to head 2-0 against Tiafoe, having beaten him 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 at their 2021 Wimbledon clash and 4-6, 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-2, 6-1 at the 2018 encounter at SW19. Meanwhile, Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff have already booked their spots in the fourth round, and will take on Grand Slam champions Barbora Krejcikova and Jelena Ostapenko respectively.

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Edited by Shyam Kamal
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