MELBOURNE, Australia — Coco Vandeweghe was the first player into the round of 16 at the Australian Open when she recovered from an early break in the third set to beat Eugenie Bouchard 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 on Friday.
Vandeweghe converted her only break to take the first set but Bouchard, who reached the Australian Open and French Open semifinals and the Wimbledon final in 2014, leveled the match with two breaks in a dominant second set.
The 22-year-old Canadian broke Vandeweghe’s serve to open the third set and appeared to be in control until the American rallied.
After holding in the key eighth game of the third set, when she saved four break points in a game that went to deuce eight times, Vandeweghe had the benefit of serving first to establish with no tiebreakers in the deciding set.
She easily held for a 6-5 lead and then, after Bouchard had a game point, went on a roll to close with a big backhand winner on her first match point.
Vandeweghe has reached the quarterfinals and the fourth round in the last two years at Wimbledon, but her run to the third round in Australia in 2016 was her best at any major not played on grass.
“It’s just another opponent on the way to achieving my goal,” Vandeweghe said of an intense match against a player who was ranked as high as No. 5 in 2014 but hasn’t gone past the third round of a Grand Slam tournament since slipping and falling in the locker room during the 2015 U.S. Open. “Anyway I could get it done - I just wanted to get the result. Achieved my goal.”
Vandeweghe’s new doubles partner, Martina Hingis, cheered her on throughout the match. Afterward, the American joked that Hingis might scold her for playing “too long to be fresh for the doubles.”
The No. 35-ranked Vandeweghe will next play the winner of Friday’s later match between defending champion Angelique Kerber and Kristyna Pliskova, the twin sister of U.S. Open finalist Karolina Pliskova.
In another early result on a rainy and overcast day in Melbourne, No. 24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat No. 11 Elina Svitolina 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.
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