Coco Gauff beats No. 2 seed to reach Top Seed Open quarters

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
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LEXINGTON, Ky. — American teenager Coco Gauff overcame some shaky serving Wednesday to beat No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 and reach the Top Seed Open quarterfinals with her third career victory over a top-15 opponent.

The 16-year-old Gauff hit 10 double-faults and was broken seven times.

“I guess,” she said afterward, “everything was an `A’ but the serving.”

She was able to hang in there with steady baseline play against the hard-hitting Sabalenka, who had 14 double-faults, including four in one game.

It was a topsy-turvy match that lasted nearly three hours and featured a bit of confusion when Gauff and her father, Cori, got into a discussion with the chair umpire about what sort of coaching is allowed under adjusted rules the WTA put in place recently.

Of more concern to Gauff was the way she was starting off points in her service games. At one point, she implored herself: “I’ve got to make the first serves. Come on.”

Gauff’s plan after dropping the second set?

“Just to stay calm and composed,” she said in an on-court TV interview afterward, “and making her play balls.”

That worked.

Sabalenka is ranked 11th, behind only No. 9 Serena Williams among the women entered in the hard-court tournament that is the first professional tennis event in the United States since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gauff is No. 53 but should now return inside the top 50.

Next up for her is a match Friday against No. 8 seed Ons Jabeur, who produced 10 aces while eliminating Olga Govortsova 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. Govortsova had been seeking her first WTA quarterfinal since 2014.

The other quarterfinal on that side of the draw will be Marie Bouzkova against Jennifer Brady, who beat No. 6 seed Magda Linette 6-2, 6-3 in Wednesday’s last match. Bouzkova followed up her upset of No. 3 Johanna Konta in the first round by defeating Anna Blinkova 6-4, 6-2 on Wednesday.

Thursday’s second-round action will include the 31st career matchup between Williams and her older sister, Venus.

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.

Sorribes Tormo beats 2nd-seeded Trevisan at Parma Open

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PARMA, Italy — Sara Sorribes Tormo beat second-seeded Martina Trevisan 7-5, 6-0 in the opening round of the Parma Ladies Open – marking the third consecutive first-round loss for this year’s French Open semifinalist.

Third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu advanced when Viktoriya Tomova retired with Begu leading 7-5, 5-1.

Danka Kovinic beat Oceane Dodin 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 and will next face 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens.

Also on the red clay courts, Mayar Sherif of Egypt eliminated fifth-seeded Anna Bondar 7-5, 6-4; Elisabetta Cocciaretto defeated seventh-seeded Nuria Parrizas Diaz 7-5, 6-1; and Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti earned her first tour-level win by beating Romanian qualifier Gabriela Lee 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.