Coco Gauff and Carlos Alcaraz advance at Wimbledon. Naomi Osaka loses

LONDON — Coco Gauff likes No. 1 Court at Wimbledon.

It’s where she beat Venus Williams back in 2019 when Gauff made her Wimbledon debut at age 15.

On Wednesday, Gauff beat qualifier Anca Todoni 6-2, 6-1 to advance to the third round at the All England Club.

“This is the court where I first started here at Wimbledon. Court 1 is always a special place for me to play on,” the 20-year-old Gauff said in her on-court interview.

The victory also allows Gauff, the No. 2 seed, to move another step away from last year’s first-round exit.

“Overall, I just learned about life a lot,” the U.S. Open champion said when asked about putting that three-set loss to Sofia Kenin behind her.

“I just realized that, yes, what I do I’m very passionate about, but it’s not ever that serious and sometimes the world can make you feel like there’s so much pressure, there’s so much expectation,” she said. “At the end of the (day), it’s a game. It’s sport.”

The 19-year-old Todoni is from Romania and was making her Grand Slam debut.

“I do think I could have played cleaner at some moments,” Gauff said.

Five years ago, Gauff beat Williams — a five-time Wimbledon champion — 6-4, 6-4 in the first round and eventually reached the last 16, all in her Grand Slam debut.

Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz trailed 6-5 in the first set Wednesday before coming back to beat Aleksander Vukic 7-6 (5), 6-2, 6-2, setting up a third-round meeting with No. 29 Frances Tiafoe after the American eliminated Borna Coric 7-6 (5), 6-1, 6-3.

When told by the on-court interviewer that Tiafoe said he’s “coming after you,” the 21-year-old Spaniard replied with a smile: “I’m going for him.”

“We played a really good match in the U.S. Open,” the No. 3 seed said of their 2022 semifinal that Alcaraz won at Flushing Meadows.

In other results, four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka was eliminated in the second round by No. 19 Emma Navarro by a score of 6-4, 6-1, while No. 1 Jannik Sinner got past 2021 runner-up Matteo Berrettini 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-6 (4) at Centre Court in an all-Italian contest.

“I knew that I had to raise my level today,” Sinner said. “He is a grass-court specialist. … I’m very happy how I handled the situation.”

No. 11 Danielle Collins completed her first-round match — a 6-3, 7-6 (4) win over Clara Tauson. It had been suspended Tuesday night at 4-4 in the second set.

No. 20 Beatriz Haddad Maia advanced to the third round by beating Magdalena Frech 7-5, 6-3.


AP tennis:

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