MELBOURNE, Australia -- World No.7 Coco Gauff defeated 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu 6-4, 7-6(4) in the second round of the Australian Open on Wednesday night. Under the bright lights of Rod Laver Arena, the 18-year-old American prevailed in a scratchy first-time meeting between the two young stars.

Gauff will face Bernarda Pera next, with the winner advancing to the Round of 16.

More from Day 3:

At 18, Gauff is the youngest seeded player in the tournament and has now won seven consecutive matches to start her 2023 season. She opened her year with a dominant run to her third career title at the ASB Classic in Auckland, losing just 22 games across five matches. 

How the match was won: In the first pro meeting between the two junior contemporaries, Gauff and Raducanu struggled with their consistency while trying to wrestle aggressive control from the baseline. Gauff's match-toughness came through in the opening set, as the American was better on the critical points. She saved six of seven break points to stifle Raducanu's momentum, winning 6-3 in 43 minutes. 

"I think it was a tough match for me," Gauff said. "The conditions, were a lot different from my first-round match, playing 11:00 in the day with the roof open to playing at night in heavy conditions.

Raducanu settled into the match in the second set. The 20-year-old Brit began to serve better and rallied from 4-2 down to get back on serve. Her backhand proved the dangerous wing, with 10 of her 13 groundstroke winners coming from that side.

Serving at 4-5, Gauff was forced to save two set points to hold, but after forcing the tiebreak, she played a cleaner third set to seal the win in 1 hour and 42 minutes.

"It was really tough to kind of fight," Gauff said. "In a lot of those points I was just trying to hang in there. For the most part I think I did well today. There's no way you can go through a whole tournament playing every match perfect, so I think it's all about being resilient when you need to."

Gauff finished the match with 13 winners to 41 unforced errors. Raducanu hit 17 winners to 42 unforced errors. 

"She is a great mover, great athlete," Raducanu said. "Puts another ball in play, so you feel like you have to squeeze it closer to the line and then she kind of teases errors out of you that way."

Stat of the match: Raducanu finished just two for ten on break point chances in the match.

The first installment of many between Gauff and Raducanu: "In the beginning, I think we both started off rocky but I think the match was good quality for the most part, considering the circumstances," Gauff said. "Both of us were nervous. This was a long-anticipated matchup since the draw came out, so I’m glad this was a good match for you guys."