Gauff reaches second round in Linz thanks to lucky loser spot

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LINZ, Austria — Coco Gauff took full advantage of a “lucky loser” spot at the Upper Austria Ladies, beating Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele, 6-3, 7-6 (3) Tuesday to reach the second round at the indoor tournament.

The American teenager lost in qualifying for the tournament – her first event since losing to Naomi Osaka in the third round of the U.S. Open – but was handed a place in the main draw when another player withdrew.

“It was very surprising because I was supposed to do a press thing today,” Gauff said. “I had practiced earlier, went back to the hotel, and then got a phone call, and was back on court 40 minutes later.”

Gauff had her major breakthrough at Wimbledon this year where she reached the fourth round, but this was her first career tour-level win indoors.

She had a match point at 5-3 in the second set only for Voegele to win three straight games to set up a chance to serve out the second set. However, Gauff broke back and won the last six points of the tiebreaker to set up a meeting with Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine.

“I haven’t looked too far ahead in the draw. I’m just going to keep playing my game and having fun,” Gauff said. “Today was my lucky day, so I hope I continue to take that luck into whenever I play my second round.”

The biggest upset of the day was German qualifier Anna-Lena Friedsam beating second-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, ousting the U.S. Open semifinalist 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

Fifth-seeded Julia Goerges advanced with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Margarita Gasparyan and No. 4 Donna Vekic cruised past Polona Hercog 6-1, 6-1.

Giron cruises in 3rd set, beats Rybakov at Dallas Open

2023 Australian Open - Day 1
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DALLAS – Marcos Giron advanced to the second round of the Dallas Open with a 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-1 victory over Alex Rybakov on Tuesday.

The seventh-seeded Giron, who reached the semifinals of the inaugural event a year ago, responded quickly after failing to close out the second set, winning the first five games of the deciding set.

Rybakov broke his fellow American when Giron was serving for the match in the second set. Then Rybakov won the first six points of the second-set tiebreaker.

“I’m really happy with how I was able to reset in the third and just get back to the game plan from the beginning and elevate,” Giron said. “He played well and served well and kind of hung in there.”

Eighth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France won the final five points of a first-set tiebreaker and the last four games of the second to beat American Steve Johnson 7-6 (6), 6-2.

J.J. Wolf, the No. 6 seed, had little trouble in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow American Brandon Holt.

John Isner, the fifth seed and unofficial tournament host in his hometown event, played later Tuesday. Like Giron, Isner lost in the semifinals last year.

Sock wins at Dallas Open, set to face top-seeded Fritz

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DALLAS – Wild-card entry Jack Sock opened with a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Ilya Ivashka at the Dallas Open, setting up a second-round meeting with top-seeded fellow American Taylor Fritz.

Sock broke Ivashka’s serve in the final game to win the match. Ivashka fell behind 2-0 to start the final set but broke Sock to get back on serve.

Down a break early in the second set, Ivashka rallied to force the deciding set after Sock cruised in the first-set tiebreaker.

The eighth-ranked Fritz is back for the second Dallas Open after losing in the semifinals as the top seed in the inaugural edition of the indoor hard-court event last year. Defending champion Reilly Opelka isn’t in the field.