Coco Gauff defeated Emma Raducanu in a battle between two of the WTA Tour's bright young stars to reach the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday, after world No 1 Iga Swiatek continued her bid for a fourth Grand Slam title.
Gauff and 2021 US Open champion Raducanu are separated by 70 places in the world rankings but their contest inside the Rod Laver Arena suggested that this could be a rivalry to watch for years to come.
American Gauff, who first broke through as a 15-year-old when she reached the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2019, showed why she is a contender for the title at Melbourne Park with an entertaining 6-3, 7-6 win over the 20-year-old Briton.
"I just told myself to hang in there and I was playing really good tennis towards the end," said Gauff. "In a Slam you have to win seven matches, you have to expect to play the best. Obviously you hope it's not in the second round, but that's what can happen."
Raducanu, who is ranked 77, showed no signs of the ankle injury that forced her out of the recent Auckland Classic, where Gauff won for her third WTA Tour title.
"Kudos to Emma," said Gauff. "I know she had a tough week in Auckland. So really good for her to be able to play this level after such a scary moment.
"The whole match was great and considering the circumstances I can imagine both of us were nervous. This was a long-anticipated match-up since the draw came out."
Earlier on Wednesday, top seed Swiatek continued to look like the player to beat with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Colombia's Camila Osorio.
The title favourite from Poland said after a tough first-round examination that she needed to find some extra "intensity", and she found the spark against the 21-year-old world No 84.
The 2022 French and US Open champion, also 21, is looking to win the Australian Open for the first time and reached the last 32 after one hour and 24 minutes of gritty resistance from Osorio.
"The match was much tougher than the score says," said Swiatek, who made her Australian Open debut in 2019.
"It was really intense physically and Camila didn't give me many points for free, so I needed to really work for every and each of them. But I'm happy that I was consistent and I can play the next round."