Melbourne, Jan 17: With Aussie tennis fans out in force on Wednesday to cheer on local favourite Olivia Rogowska in her second round match against Marta Kostyuk, most in attendance had no idea her Ukrainian opponent was about to make history. But a collective gasp rang out across Court 3 when the teeger revealed in a post-match, on-court interview that she was born in 2002 and is only 15 years of age, reports Xinhua news agency. The feat makes Kostyuk the youngest player to reach the third round at the Australian Open since Marti Hingis in 1996.
After gaining a straight sets victory over Chi’s Peng Shuai in her first round match, the 6-3, 7-5 win over Rogowska will now see her face fellow Ukrainian and fourth seed in the tourment, Eli Svitoli. To date, the teege sensation has only pocketed a little over $6,000 in prize money during her short career. However, her passage into the third round will now guarantee Kostyuk in excess of $100,000.
Another young talent, Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, was riding high after knocking out last year’s Australian Open filist, Venus Williams, in straight sets. But on Wednesday, the 20-year-old lost to Luksika Kumkhum 6-1, 6-3. Meanwhile in the men's singles competition French star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, was pushed to the limit in a 5-set thriller by 18-year-old Cadian player, Denis Shapovalov.In the end, the experienced Frenchman hung on to win the battle 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7 (4-7), 7-5.Third seed Grigor Dimitrov also had a gruelling five-set encounter with 22 years old American Mackenzie McDold but he maged to clinch the victory 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 0-6, 8-6, after looking down and out in the fourth set. (IANS)