Melbourne, Australia , 18 January 2023 | Vivienne Christie

Olivia Gadecki’s maiden main-draw Grand Slam campaign has ended in a second-round loss at the Australian Open – but not before the Queenslander added a memorable chapter to her burgeoning career.

Following her straight-sets win over qualifier Polina Kudermetova on Monday, Gadecki exited to the higher-ranked Marta Kostyuk on Wednesday, with the 56-minute match providing experience that will undoubtedly benefit the young Australian in the longer-term.

The 20-year-old Queenslander made a promising start against the confident Kostyuk, with a pair of aces adding to a dominant opening service game. But two games on, a double fault from Gadecki was compounded by a series of unforced errors – Kostyuk pounced to claim the break, and rode that momentum to take the first set.

The No.61-ranked Ukrainian is also aged 20 but made a first major statement when she claimed the Australian Open 2017 girls’ title at age 15. There are 11 Grand Slam appearances on Kostyuk’s growing record, including a fourth-round Roland Garros showing in 2021.

She launched her fourth main draw campaign in Melbourne with an upset of No.28 seed Amanda Anisimova and was clearly determined to build on that momentum in the second round.

The contrasting experience showed as the Ukrainian maintained her authority, taking a 4-0 lead in the second set. Gadecki clawed one game back before Kostyuk secured a 6-2 6-1 victory.

While Gadecki will lament the three double faults and 28 unforced errors that ultimately prove costly against Kostyuk, she’ll also build on her assured showing in the first round.

“I feel like in the past I’ve kind of kept to myself a bit. Today I just wanted to kind of let them in and really embrace the crowd,” Gadecki commented after her first-round win on Monday. “It’s such a once-in-a-lifetime sort of moment.”

And yet almost certainly the first of more to come from the Queenslander, who now turns her attention to her Australian Open women’s doubles campaign with fellow Queenslander Priscilla Hon and to the mixed doubles alongside Marc Polmans.

Another Queensland women continues her Australian Open singles campaign tomorrow, as Kim Birrell – an upset winner over experienced No.31 seed Kaia Kanepi on Monday – faces Czech teen Linda Fruhvirtova.

AUSSIES IN ACTION – Australian Open

Men’s singles, first round
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) d Fabio Fognini (ITA) 6-1 6-2 6-2
Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) d [Q] Max Purcell (AUS) 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6(11)
[Q] Brandon Holt (USA) d [Q] Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) 6-4 1-6 6-3 3-6 6-3

Women’s singles, second round
Marta Kostyuk (UKR) d [WC] Olivia Gadecki (AUS) 6-2 6-1

Men’s singles, second round
[7] Daniil Medvedev d [WC] John Millman (AUS) 7-5 6-2 6-2
[18] Karen Khachanov d [WC] Jason Kubler (AUS) 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-2

> READ MORE: Kubler’s career-best Australian Open run ends

Men’s singles, second round
[22] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v Adrian Mannarino (FRA)
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v Andy Murray (GBR)
[WC] Rinky Hijikata (AUS) 
v [3] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)

Women’s singles, second round 
[WC] Olivia Gadecki (AUS)
 v Marta Kostyuk (UKR)

> READ: Australian Open doubles draws revealed

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