Elina Svitolina toughed out a second-round showdown against Coco Gauff to earn a 6-4 6-3 victory in an hour and 17 minutes under a closed roof on Rod Laver Arena on Thursday night.
There was abundant interest and a sniff of a potential upset in this first-ever meeting between the fearless 16-year-old American and 26-year-old Ukrainian, a key title contender this fortnight at AO 2021.
“I'm just going to embrace the opportunity and try to play well under the pressure,” Gauff, pursuing a career-third top 10 win, said earlier this week.
"This is only my second Australian Open, so I mean, I'm just going out there and having fun,” added the teen prodigy, who has spent free time in Melbourne honing her mini-golf game.
“Obviously you want to do as well or even better than the year before, but I try not to think about it and just take it one match at a time.”