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Day 4 women's wrap: New court, no worries for Haddad Maia

  • Dan Imhoff

Unflappable Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia has prevented a trifecta of young upstarts surprising more highly-fancied opponents at Australian Open 2024 on Wednesday.

MORE: All the scores from Day 4 at AO 2024

In a match shifted to Rod Laver Arena following a faster-than-expected finish to the day schedule, the 10th seed continued the speedy trend with a 6-1 6-2 victory over last year’s Australian Open junior champion Alina Korneeva.

Mirra Andreeva, 16, and Maria Timofeeva, 20, earlier brought down sixth seed Ons Jabeur and Caroline Wozniacki respectively at Melbourne Park, but Haddad Maia ensured the 16-year-old qualifier’s Grand Slam debut would not continue beyond 80 minutes.

“I think everything came from my heart and I know how hard my team, my family and everyone behind me works every single day,” the Roland Garros 2023 semifinalist said.

MORE: AO 2024 women's singles draw

“It doesn't matter what happened, if it's windy, if it's hot, if it's a tough day, we don't have excuses and we try to do our best version every day.

“I think I have this mentality because of them. I try to be the person with the racquet here trying to represent this special group that I have.”

Beatriz Haddad Maia through to Roland Garros semifinals
Haddad Maia made her first major semifinal at Roland Garros in 2023

Haddad Maia kept hopes alive of becoming the first Brazilian woman to win a major since Maria Bueno claimed the last of her seven Grand Slam titles in 1966.

Court reshuffle aside, she was still able to draw on a loyal band of supporters proudly donning the green, blue and yellow of her home nation.

“Brazilians are amazing. They are always everywhere cheering for me, doesn’t matter which part of the world,” she said.

“There are for sure Brazilians here. I'm very happy and proud to be a Brazilian woman and being this stage in big courts around the world and representing all of them. I'm happy and I'm hoping I can bring more happiness for them as well.”

The 27-year-old will meet another qualifier, Timofeeva, who earlier ended AO 2018 champion Wozniacki’s Melbourne Park comeback 1-6 6-4 6-1 at John Cain Arena.

One of eight mothers in the draw, former world No.1 Wozniacki was unable to extend her stay in just her fifth tournament back against the world No.170, a first-time tour titlist in Budapest last year.

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“Honestly, I was going into the match without any expectations, just to show what I’m capable of, to see how the match goes,” Timofeeva said.

“It was really great, I enjoyed every second of it. That's crazy to think she was winning this tournament. Of course, to play her here was very special. To win this match I’m just beyond happy and couldn't ask for more.”

Timofeeva stormed home after conceding the opening set

American Alycia Parks had long been earmarked for her big-game potential.

In four Grand Slam main draw appearances, the 23-year-old was yet to pass the second round until Wednesday.

Parks sent Canadian 32nd seed Leylah Fernandez packing 7-5 6-4 to set a third-round clash with fourth seed Coco Gauff.

“In the important points I kept telling [my team] to slow down and let me think,” she said.

“They were trying to cheer too much and I was like ‘OK slow down, like, I'm feeling nervous too'. So I just kept telling them to cool it a little bit, but they did a great job.”

Poland’s Magdalena Frech had never won a match at a major before AO 2024, but after stunning home favourite Daria Saville in a three-hour, 13-minute tussle, she backed it up with an upset of 16th seed Caroline Garcia 6-4 7-6(2).

The 26-year-old had never beaten a top-50 opponent on hard courts in 32 prior attempts, but was too steady for the former world No.4, who had beaten two-time former champion Naomi Osaka in the opening round.

Frech will next meet unseeded 21-year-old Anastasia Zakharova.

Garcia came back down to earth after her impressive win over Osaka

Czech ninth seed Barbora Krejcikova barely made it past 121st-ranked wildcard Mai Hontama at the first hurdle, but had no such problems against German Tamara Korpatsch on Wednesday.

The Roland Garros 2020 champion needed just 85 minutes to post a 6-2 6-2 victory over the world No.80 for a third-round meeting against Australian qualifier Storm Hunter.