Teen Coco Gauff Stops No. 2 Seed Aryna Sabalenka to Reach Quarterfinals of Lexington Tennis Tourney
(August 12, 2020) Cori “Coco” Gauff moved into the WTA Tour Top 50 on Wednesday with an upset win over second seed and world No. 11 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 7-6,(4), 4-6, 6-4 at the Top Seed Open in Lexington, Kentucky. The two-hour and 48 minute match was like a roller coaster ride throughout, with ups and downs for both players. Both players had multiple errors and doubles faults and broke each other’s service games multiple times.
Gauff had a 5-2 lead in the first set only to see her opponent reel off 4 straight games to get to 6-5 to serve for the set. Gauff broke in the 12th game sending the set ti a tiebreak, where she took it 7-4.
Sabalenka reversed course in the second set to level the match.
The third set saw yet another swing of the pendulum back and fourth. Gauff took a 2-0 lead in the third set only to get broken straight back, with the No. 2 seed getting even at 2-2. Both women exchanged breaks again until Gauff broke serve at 4-4 and served out the match.
“I think my serve today was more mental than technical,” Gauff said. “Towards the end of the match, I started serving better, and I may have been overthinking at some points.”
For the 16-year-old American, it’s her first quarterfinal of the year and her third career win over a Top 15 player.
World No. 11? No problem for @CocoGauff.
— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) August 12, 2020
Gauff talked about her long, tough match to reporters: “It’s pretty much impossible to play your best tennis for all three hours of a match. Keeping the level high throughout was pretty tough, but that’s just tennis, playing in different conditions, and just starting back on tour. I’m not too upset with how I played, I’m most proud of how I handled myself, staying composed on the pressure points.”
Gauff said that the key to her victory was her mentality. “My mentality pushed me to win.” We were both playing good tennis. We both had up and downs in the match.”
“At the end of the day, it came down to a couple of points, a couple of close calls, that’s tennis in general.”
Gauff will face Ons Jabeur of Tunisia for a spot in the semifinals. Jabeur defeated Olga Govortsova.
“It will be a completely different match going from Sabalenka,” Gauff said of her next challenger. “She’s (Jabeur) really crafty, she uses the slice a lot. It will definitely be a new style of tennis and I think she’s a great player. It’s going to be a good match.
More to follow…