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.

Top-seeded Sakkari reaches semifinals at Parma Ladies Open

Maria Sakkari
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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past 97th-ranked Maryna Zanevska 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday at the Parma Ladies Open to reach her first semifinal since the grass-court season.

Sakkari, who has gone three sets in all three of her matches this week, will face Danka Kovinic for a spot in the final of the clay-court event after Kovinic beat Jasmine Paolini 6-4, 6-4.

In her previous semifinal, Sakkari lost to Belinda Bencic in Berlin in June. The seventh-ranked Greek player was eliminated by Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open on Aug. 31.

In the bottom half of the draw, Mayar Sherif of Egypt beat American opponent Lauren Davis 7-6 (2), 6-3 to reach her second career semifinal. Sherif next faces Ana Bogdan, who defeated fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-2, 7-6 (6).

Sakkari through to Parma Open quarterfinals; Stephens loses

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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past Arantxa Rus 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Parma Ladies Open.

Sakkari, who accepted a late wild card to the red clay court tournament, was playing her first event since losing to Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open.

The Greek player will next face Maryna Zanevska of Belgium after she eased past Dalma Galfi 6-1, 6-3.

Fourth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, lost to Danka Kovinic 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.

Kovinic will face Jasmine Paolini in the quarterfinals after the Italian defeated compatriot Elisabetta Cocciaretto 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

There will be an American in the final eight, however, as Lauren Davis rallied to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Sorribes Tormo had eliminated second-seeded Martina Trevisan in straight sets in the opening round.

Davis will play Mayar Sherif after the Egyptian player defeated Simona Waltert 6-3, 7-6 (1).

Also, third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania eased past Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan, who beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.