Sofia Kenin stops Coco Gauff in Australian Open’s 4th round

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Coco Gauff’s latest history-making Grand Slam run at age 15 ended with a 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-0 loss in the Australian Open’s fourth round to Sofia Kenin on Sunday.

Like Gauff, Kenin is a young – although, at 21, not quite as young – American and she reached her first major quarterfinal with the victory.

In her previous match, Gauff beat Naomi Osaka to become the youngest player in the professional era to defeat the reigning women’s champion at the Australian Open.

But Gauff did not play as well this time, winding up with 48 unforced errors, more than twice as many as Kenin’s 22.

After dropping the opening set, Kenin immediately tilted things her way, breaking in the initial game and never letting that lead slip away.

When it ended, appropriately enough, on a missed backhand by Gauff, Kenin dropped her racket at the baseline and covered her face as tears welled in her eyes.

Just before Gauff announced herself last season by becoming the youngest qualifier in Wimbledon history and beating Venus Williams en route to the fourth round, Kenin strode onto the Grand Slam stage at the French Open by upsetting Serena Williams to get the round of 16 at a major for the first time.

Gauff’s power is impressive. One tiny indication: She slammed a forehand into the net so hard that it dislodged a piece of a sponsor’s white plastic sign.

Kenin can’t copy that. But thanks to her relentless ball-tracking and a bit of in-your-face attitude with a racket in hand, Kenin surged up the WTA rankings from 52nd to 12th in 2019 while winning her first three tour-level singles titles plus a couple in doubles.

Also on Sunday, defending champion Novak Djokovic moved into a quarterfinal against No. 32 Milos Raonic.

Djokovic defeated No. 14 Diego Schwarzman 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. Raonic beat 2014 U.S. Open champion and 2018 Australian Open runner-up Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 with the help of 35 aces.

Perhaps just as noteworthy: The Canadian produced 30 more aces than Cilic, a big server himself.

Raonic has 59 holds in a row and won all 12 sets he has played so far en route to his third quarterfinal in Melbourne. He was the runner-up at Wimbledon in 2016, but hasn’t been to a Grand Slam semifinal since while dealing with a series of injuries in recent seasons.

“I haven’t gotten to do this much over the last two years,” Raonic said, “so it means a lot to me.”

He has been overshadowed of late by other, younger Canadians: Bianca Andreescu, who won the U.S. Open last year at 19 but missed the Australian Open with a knee injury; and Denis Shapovalov, 20, and Felix Auger-Alissime, 19, who both were seeded among the top 20 men at Melbourne Park but lost in the first round.

At Melbourne Arena, Gauff won the toss, elected to serve and proceeded to hand over a quick break, accumulating four misses, including a backhand that hit the net tape and popped back onto her side. Kenin shouted “Come on!” while the ball was still in the air.

She soon took leads of 2-0 and 4-2, as a tentative Gauff was trying to feel her way into the match. But then Kenin faltered, a bit of inexperience revealing itself when she opted not to challenge a forehand of hers that was called out — and a TV replay showed was in.

That mistake granted Gauff her initial break chance of the afternoon, which Kenin then donated by sailing a forehand long.

Suddenly it was 4-all, and they headed to a tiebreaker, where Kenin blinked first. She had avoided even one double-fault until then, but offered up two as Gauff went ahead 5-2, used a 119 mph (191 kph) serve to set up a forehand winner for 6-2 and, after letting set points slip away, closed it when Kenin netted a backhand.

Gauff repaid the favor in the second set, offering a trio of double-faults in one game – she finished with seven – to get broken and trail 3-1. They would play for more than two hours in total, and Gauff never got back in it.

Also advancing was last year’s runner-up in Melbourne, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who was down a set and a break before coming back to defeat No. 22 Maria Sakkari 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-2.

“From the beginning, it was a lot of nerves out there. I didn’t feel the best. I was just, you know, too tight and everything was flying,” Kvitova said.

Eventually, she worked out the issues, began to swing more freely and took control.

Kvitova’s quarterfinal opponent will be No. 1 seed Ash Barty – trying to become the first Australian to win the nation’s Grand Slam tournament since the 1970s – or No. 18 Alison Riske of the United States.

Elena Rybakina hits 10 aces in Miami for 12th straight win

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina extended her winning streak to 12 matches by delivering 10 aces – her fourth consecutive outing with at least that many – in a 6-3, 6-0 victory over 25th-seeded Martina Trevisan on Tuesday in the Miami Open quarterfinals.

Rybakina has 46 aces through four matches at the hard-court tournament in Florida and a WTA-leading 201 this season.

The 23-year-old, who represents Kazakhstan, improved to 20-4 in 2023, including a run to the Australian Open final in January and a title at Indian Wells, California, last week.

She is trying to become only the fifth player to win the women’s trophies at Indian Wells and Miami in the same season. Top-ranked Iga Swiatek did it a year ago; she withdrew from Miami this time because of a rib injury.

“Of course it would be amazing to achieve something like that,” the 10th-seeded Rybakina said about the prospect of completing what’s known as the Sunshine Double, “but it’s still far away.”

So far in Rybakina’s career, 13 of her 18 semifinal appearances have come on hard courts. She will face No. 3 Jessica Pegula or No. 27 Anastasia Potapova for a berth in the final.

Trevisan reached the French Open semifinals in 2022.

In fourth-round men’s action Tuesday, No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was beaten 7-6 (4), 6-4 by No. 14 Karen Khachanov, while defending champion Carlos Alcaraz, Taylor Fritz and Jannik Sinner all beat seeded opponents in straight sets.

Alcaraz, who returned to No. 1 in the ATP rankings last week, got past Australian Open semifinalist Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-4 to set up a meeting against Fritz, the top-ranked American man and seeded ninth in Miami.

Fritz compiled twice as many winners, 22, as unforced errors, 11, and only dropped serve once during a 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 7 Holger Rune. That put Fritz into his first quarterfinal in seven appearances in Miami – and his first matchup against Alcaraz, a 19-year-old from Spain who won the U.S. Open in September for his first Grand Slam title.

“I’m really excited for it,” Fritz said. “I think that a lot of people are really excited for that, too.”

No. 10 Sinner eliminated No. 6 Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-4 and has yet to drop a set in the tournament.

Sinner’s next opponent will be unseeded Emil Ruusuvuori, a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 winner against No. 26 Botic van de Zandschulp.

Fritz, Sinner reach Miami Open quarterfinals with 2-set wins

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Taylor Fritz and Jannik Sinner beat seeded opponents in straight sets at the Miami Open to move into the quarterfinals.

No. 9 Fritz compiled twice as many winners, 22, as unforced errors, 11, and only dropped serve once during a 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 7 Holger Rune.

That put Fritz, the highest-ranked American man, into his first quarterfinal in seven appearances at the hard-court tournament.

He will face either No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz or Australian Open semifinalist Tommy Paul next. Alcaraz is the defending champion in Miami.

No. 10 Sinner eliminated No. 6 Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-4 and has yet to drop a set in the tournament.

Sinner’s next opponent will be No. 26 Botic van de Zandschulp or unseeded Emil Ruusuvuori.