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Teenage sensation Cori Gauff enjoys another straight sets victory

Child’s play: Cori Gauff celebrates her second round victory over Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova
Child’s play: Cori Gauff celebrates her second round victory over Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova

By Andy Sims

Cori Gauff is still making her debut Wimbledon campaign seem like child's play.

The 15-year-old sensation, who beat Venus Williams in round one, continued her stunning progress by sweeping past former semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova.

Undaunted by playing under the lights of the Court One roof - the match did not begin match until 8.05pm - Gauff put in another nerveless display.

It may have been approaching her bedtime, but the young American stayed utterly focused to secure a commanding 6-3 6-3 victory in an hour and nine minutes.

Rybarikova has slipped to 139 in the world but she certainly has pedigree, a seasoned grass-court player who made the last four just two years ago.

Gauff is no respecter of reputations, though. Nor is she lacking in confidence, having already declared she is here to win the tournament, and after three assured service games she switched up a gear and broke Rybarikova to love.

A hold to love clinched the first set, and she broke again for 2-1 in the second with Rybarikova unable to find an answer to the relentless, machine-like groundstrokes.

Gauff had a brief chat with Roger Federer before the match, and the eight-time winner will have no doubt approved as two superb serves got her out of a mild sticky patch for 4-2.

Rybarikova desperately wanted to force Gauff to serve out the match but she was having none of it, and as the weary Slovakian dumped a return into the net the teenager celebrated another hugely impressive victory.

Gauff will play World No.60 Polona Hercog in round three after the Slovenian beat 17th seed Madison Keys.

Third seed Karolina Pliskova found Centre Court to her liking as she demolished Monica Puig to reach the third round.

The Czech took just one hour to wrap up a 6-0 6-4 victory over Puerto Rican Puig.

Pliskova was taken to a second-set tie-break in her opening-day win over world number 101 Zhu Lin on Court Two, but she felt more at home on Centre.

"I think it was much better than the first round, for sure," she said.

"I felt the best here in Wimbledon today. The court was super nice, a little bit faster than the outside courts. So it was good.

"Centre for sure the fastest for me. I just like that much better than Court Two. Normally Court Two is not my favourite here."

Next, Pliskova will face Hsieh Su-wei, the 28th seed, who beat Kirsten Flipkens 7-6 (3) 6-3.

Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, who has never made it past the fourth round, beat unseeded Russian Veronika Kudermetova.

Wozniacki, seeded 14th, needed a tie-break in the first set and went on to win 7-6 (5) 6-3.

Meanwhile, Johanna Konta is hoping to continue to have British support as she looks to move through to the third round of Wimbledon.

The 19th seed will take on Czech Katerina Siniakova and is one of five home players in action on day four.

This has been Britain's most successful Wimbledon for 13 years in terms of first-round wins, and Konta said: "There's seven British players in the next round. I like to think we're all in it together.

"I definitely am just really pleased to be playing the tennis that I'm playing. I don't necessarily look at what my ranking is, how that compares to other players in the country, outside of the country.

"I'm just really pleased I was able to play a good first round and get an opportunity to play a second round."

After Konta's run to the semi-finals of the French Open, hopes are high that she can replicate or even better what she achieved two years ago, when she reached the last four at SW19.

She made a solid start with a 7-5 6-2 victory over qualifier Ana Bogdan but is likely to have to up her level against 38th-ranked Siniakova, who upset Naomi Osaka on her way to the fourth round of the French Open.

Belfast Telegraph

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