22nd seed Daria Gavrilova and 12th seed Timea Bacsinszky didn't get their match underway in the Rod Laver Arena, at until 9 pm local time due to Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev's five-set thriller, overrunning into the night session. Nevertheless, Russian-born Australian, Daria Gavrilova won the match in three sets, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in 2 hours and 33 minutes to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open for the second consecutive year.
It was the third consecutive match that Gavrilova had won in three sets, defeating Naomi Broady and Ana Konjuh in the previous two rounds, staging comebacks in both encounters to the delight of the Aussie crowd.
Gavrilova wins a topsy-turvy opening set
Bacsinszky opened the match with an easy service hold to 15, and Gavrilova followed suit by holding to love, getting both players on the board. In the third game of the opening set, it looked as though Bacsinszky would hold comfortably at 40-0, however, a couple of backhand unforced errors and a double fault, got the game levelled at deuce. A forehand unforced error from Gavrilova's racquet handed the Swiss number one another game point but Bacsinszky couldn't take it.
The 22nd seed would get her first break point of the match, at the end of an 18-shot rally and an exquisite sliced drop shot winner. Bacsinszky would save it by virtue of Gavrilova's forehand unforced error, however, a backhand drop shot at the net, handed the Aussie another break point chance, which was saved from a backhand cross-court winner. An ace out wide handed the 12th seed another game point but two backhand unforced errors handed Gavrilova a third chance to break. Gavrilova failed to convert it with a missed backhand out wide, however, the inevitable occurred with a fourth break point chance, the 22nd seed would break Bacsinszky's serve in a marathon 13 minute game with a forehand winner at the net to lead 2-1.
The Aussie number two consolidated the break with a backhand volley winner at the net to lead 3-1. In the fourth game of the match, the former world number nine was struggling on serve, and Gavrilova raced out to a 0-40 lead, and the Swiss number one would find a forehand winner down the line to save one of the breaks but Gavrilova won her fourth consecutive game by virtue of a backhand unforced error in the net from Bacsinszky.
The experienced clay-courter knew that she had to respond in the sixth game of the match, and she began the game on Gavrilova's serve with a sweet two-handed backhand cross-court winner down the line. A backhand error followed from the Swiss' racquet, however, she would win the next two consecutive points with a backhand return winner, and a backhand unforced error handed Bacsinszky two break point chances. The Swiss number one was unable to take the first one, and she roared with frustration, moreover, a 12-shot-rally ended with an error from Gavrilova allowed Bacsinszky to recover one of the breaks back but trailed 4-2.
Furthermore, in the seventh game of the opening set, it was an error-strewn game from Bacsinszky, that allowed Gavrilova to break to 15, and re-established the double break advantage at 5-2.
The 22nd seed was serving for the first set, and she got off to a good start by placing the first serve out wide, drawing the error from Bacsinszky. However, a good return from the Switzerland native, followed by two forehand errors out wide from Gavrilova, gave Bacsinszky two more break points which she converted at the first time of asking by virtue of a forehand unforced error in the net for the fourth consecutive break of the match.
Once again, both players were struggling on their serve, playing better in their return games, Gavrilova quickly raced out to a 0-30 lead as she was looking to wrap up this opening set, however, Bacsinszky would find a backhand winner down the line to win the next point but a sliced forehand unforced error handed the Aussie her first set point, which she converted with a slice drop shot winner, 6-3 in 45 minutes.
Bacsinszky responds in the second set
By winning the first set on Bacsinszky's serve, Gavrilova would open up proceedings in the second set. However, the first three points between both players would be, their forehand unforced errors with Bacsinszky leading 15-30. The 22nd seed would win the next two points with a forehand winner placed in the corner and a good serve out wide, however, a backhand winner down the line and a forehand unforced error handed the 12th seed a chance to break. Unrelenting hitting and a forehand winner allowed Gavrilova to save the break point, and she would go on to win the next two points for the first service hold in the match since she held serve in the fourth game of set one.
The Swiss number one would also hold serve to get the match levelled at 1-1, however, a drop shot from Bacsinszky caused Gavrilova to commit an unforced error but the 22nd seed would win the next point by virtue of a forehand error. However, Bacsinszky would break serve with a backhand winner, that trickled over the net, a double fault and a volley winner at the net gave Bacsinskzy the 2-1 lead.
The former world number nine would consolidate the break easily, and the next two games would see both players holding serve with Bacsinszky nudging the scoreboard in her favour leading 4-2. In the seventh game, Gavrilova raced to a 40-0 lead but she committed a sliced backhand unforced error in the net, followed by a forehand unforced error would keep the game to one break at 4-3.
In the eighth game of the match, Bacsinszky's forehands continued to threaten the Aussie number two, drawing errors from the 22nd seed, and she would win the game to 15 with an exquisite backhand winner in the corner, in a 22-shot rally. Gavrilova had to serve to stay in the second set but the Swiss number one made life easy for her as she committed forehand unforced errors.
Bacsinszky was looking solid on her serve in the second set as she quickly found herself at 0-30 with a backhand error in the net and a forehand winner down the line. Moreover, an error from Gavrilova, got Bacsinszky involved in this game but the inevitably occurred with a backhand unforced error, and a forehand unforced volley error in the net got the match back on serve at 5-5.
The two players would start the important 11th game with two unforced errors, however, a forehand error and two unforced errors allowed Bacsinszky to regain the break advantage, and serve for the second set once more.
The 12th game began with a 21-shot rally forcing the error from Gavrilova, more errors continued to arise from both players and at 40-15, the Swiss number one had two set points. A forehand unforced error, followed by Gavrilova's forehand winner saved the two points. However, two unforced errors from Gavrilova, allowed Bacsisnzky to take the match to a deciding set.
Gavrilova advances to the fourth round once more
In the first game of the final set, Bacsinszky broke Gavrilova's serve due to the Aussie committing two unforced errors and a double fault in that game. Furthermore, the Aussie was looking to get the immediate break back, starting the game with a backhand volley winner, however, Bacsinskzy would win the next point, and the 22nd seed would get two break point chances by winning the next two points. The Swiss number one saved the break point with a drop shot but Gavrilova responded from a good return to get the immediate break and level the match at 1-1.
The 22-year-old would win the next game to love with the Rod Laver Arena crowd fully backing their player. The pendulum swung once more with Bacsinszky struggling on serve, starting the fourth game at 0-30 down, strong forehands from the Swiss moved Gavrilova side to side, drawing the error, however, the 22-year-old responded with a volley winner at the net, and Bacsinszky's double fault handed the Aussie, her third consecutive game leading 3-1.
Gavrilova was in the ascendency now, playing some fabulous tennis in the fifth game with a forehand winner down the line to open up the game, Bacsinszky followed suit, however, a passing shot winner down the line, a tame unforced error in the net and a service winner out wide, extended Gavrilova's lead to 4-1.
The 12th seed held serve easily with unforced errors spewing from the Aussie's racquet, and the 22nd seed would extend her lead in the next game to 5-2, a game away from winning the match and reaching the fourth round.
Bacsinszky was in deep trouble in the eighth game, serving to stay in the match, after a forehand error, two backhand unforced errors in succession and a double fault, handed Gavrilova two match points at 15-40. However, a gutsy service winner out wide on her second serves and an ace out wide bailed the 27-year-old out of trouble. A strong double-handed backhand drew the error from Gavrilova, and a forehand volley winner down the line kept Bacsinszky in the tournament but was trailing 5-3.
The Aussie had the chance to serve for the match for the second time but she started the game poorly with a wild forehand unforced error, furthermore, she would go on to win the next two points with a backhand error from her opponent, and a timely ace gave her a 30-15 lead. However, two backhand unforced errors gave the Swiss number one chance to restore the game to parity. However, a couple of errors gave Bacsinszky a second break point chance which she would capitalise with a forehand volley winner.
Furthermore, Gavrilova didn't panic and ended a thriller with Bacsinszky starting the game with a backhand unforced error in the net, a drop shot winner from the Swiss, another untimely backhand unforced error and a forehand volley winner handed Gavrilova another three-set victory in 2 hours and 33 minutes to advance to the second week in Melbourne once more.
The 22nd-seeded Australian got 60 percent of her first serves in and winning 64 percent of the points on her first serve. Also, she had the greatest success by coming to the net, winning 82 percent of the points there. Furthermore, whilst producing 37 winners, she committed 40 unforced errors. Bacsinszky also committed 40 unforced errors, producing 25 winners in the process.
A tough fourth round match
Gavrilova will be participating in the fourth round of the Australian Open for the second time in her career. However, she will have a tough task to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, as she will up against fifth seed and last year's US Open finalist Karolina Pliskova. The Czech recovered from two breaks down at 2-5 in her match with Jelena Ostapenko, and there is a big chance for one of them to make the semifinals with Jennifer Brady or Mirjana Lucic-Baroni awaiting in the quarterfinals.