Rampant Pegula and Krejcikova to face off

Rampaging American Jessica Pegula will take on former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova in a tantalising fourth-round clash after the pair raced through to the Australian Open second week.

On a day when world No.1 Iga Swiatek swept aside Cristina Bucsa 6-0 6-1, she was joined in the fourth round by Wimbledon champion and her next opponent Elena Rybakina, along with Pegula, Krejcikova, Coco Gauff and Jelena Ostapenko.

Pegula is yet to drop a set in Melbourne and barely raised a sweat in her 6-0 6-2 thrashing of Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk, needing just an hour and five minutes to seal a fourth-round berth.

She will next face the resurgent Krejcikova, who has flown under the radar in her bid to complete a rare Australian Open title double and also easily beat a Ukrainian in Anhelina Kalinina 6-2 6-3 on Friday.

Pegula is suitably wary of Krejcikova, who has won all four doubles slams, been ranked as high as No.2 in the world in singles, and reached the quarter-finals at the Open last year.

Krejcikova is the 20th seed at Melbourne Park this year after an elbow injury and dipping form in majors hurt her ranking but she regained form late last year and shapes as a dangerous prospect.

"Obviously, I've watched her quite a bit," Pegula said.

"She's had a great couple of years, obviously last year she was a little bit hurt. It seems like she's finding her confidence again

"I actually don't think I've ever played her in singles, just in doubles.

"So I have a little bit of an idea but I'll definitely have to watch some more of her matches."

Pegula was the star of the United States' United Cup win, including thrashing Swiatek, and, at 28, appears primed to kick on from back-to-back quarter-finals at Melbourne Park to genuinely contend for the title.

Krejcikova, the 2021 French Open singles champion who won the 2022 Melbourne Park doubles title with compatriot Katerina Siniakova, is also yet to drop a set and has only lost 14 games across her first three matches.

"Everything is improving. I think with every single match I'm getting better and better," she said.

"I'm really happy with the way I'm winning so far."

Seventh seed Gauff clinched her place in the second week with a 6-3 6-2 win over her fellow American Bernarda Pera and will next face Ostapenko, who brushed aside another Ukrainian, Kateryna Baindl 6-3 6-0.

But last year's runner-up and 13th seed Danielle Collins won't be able to go one better than her 2022 finals loss to Ash Barty after being knocked out by Rybakina 6-2 5-7 6-2.

Sixth seed Maria Sakkari and 10th seed Madison Keys were also eliminated in the late matches.

Sakkari suffered a shock 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-4 defeat to China's Zhu Lin, while Keys was beaten 1-6 6-2 6-1 by two-time champion Victoria Azarenka.

World No.87 Zhu meets Azarenka in the fourth round.