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CoCo sends another world No.1 packing

Coco Vandeweghe celebrates with a dab after winning her  fourth round match against Angelique Kerber
Coco Vandeweghe celebrates with a dab after winning her fourth round match against Angelique Kerber MARK R. CRISTINO

TENNIS: Defending champion Angie Kerber has sensationally followed fellow world No.1 Andy Murray out of the Australian Open.

American firebrand CoCo Vandeweghe blasted the German from back-to-back title contention and into her first quarter-final at Melbourne Park.

It is the first time in the tournament's history that the top seed in the men's and women's draw each failed to make the last eight.

There was still plenty of "Loco CoCo” - her racquet going flying early in the first set - but the woman from a family of high-achieving sportspeople left most of her aggression for the tennis ball.

Vandeweghe caned 30 winners, including six aces, in a typically gung-ho approach that leaked 20 unforced errors as she regained a second-set service break to win 6-2 6-3 in a blitzkrieg 68 minutes.

The 25-year-old took what was a career-best victory in her stride, flashing a cheeky look brimming with attitude towards her player box.

"It's really special to play a No.1 player in the world on any stage, in any round. I believe this is my first No.1 win, so I'll take that,” Vandeweghe said.

"My game plan was to execute, knowing she'd get a lot of balls back, and trust my game to beat her - and it did today.

"When you play tough players, like you will in late rounds of tournaments, you can't show you're struggling or not feeling confident in yourself.

"That's what I decided to tell myself this year and last year a little bit, because I was lacking confidence at certain stages.”

Angelique Kerber during her  fourth round match against Coco Vandeweghe
Angelique Kerber during her fourth round match against Coco Vandeweghe FILIP SINGER

Vandeweghe revealed she set the goal to advance to the Australian Open quarter-finals - something she achieved at Wimbledon in 2015 - among a season ambition to make a grand slam semi-final.

Her next opponent is French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, who earlier in the night beat Romania's Sorana Cirstea by the same 6-2 6-3 scoreline.

Vandeweghe leads the head-to-head with Muguruza 2-1, but lost 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 to the Spaniard at Cincinnati last year.

"She's a tough opponent and a little bit different to what I played today,” Vandeweghe said. "I'll sleep tonight, recover and be as ready as possible.”

Kerber started the year slowly at Brisbane and Sydney and dropped a set in her first two matches in Melbourne, but appeared to strike form in a 6-0 6-4 thrashing of Kristyna Pliskova in round three.

But the 29-year-old two-time grand slam winner had no answers for Vandeweghe's on-court fireworks.

Vandeweghe slipped 2-0 behind in the second set after going a set up in 33 minutes, but drew level six games into the set as Kerber faltered - and not for the last time.


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