Coco Gauff reaches semifinals at ASB Classic

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Top-seeded Coco Gauff beat Zhu Lin of China 6-3, 6-2 to reach the semifinals of the ASB Tennis Classic in a tournament which has been dogged by bleak weather and diminished by waning star power.

Venus Williams, second-seeded Sloane Stephens and former U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu all were beaten in the second round and for the third day in a row, matches were moved indoors because of rain and played without spectators.

Another seeded player, third-seeded former U.S. Open finalist Leylah Fernandez, was beaten 6-4, 6-2 by Belgian qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure.

Gauff deserved an audience for her impressive win over Zhu which she achieved in only 76 minutes and earned her a ninth semifinal of her career. The American hasn’t dropped a set at the tournament.

Zhu has faced Americans in each round of the tournament so far, beating Madison Brengle in the first round and Williams in three sets in the second round on Thursday.

But Gauff was in top form Friday. She served eight aces, won 89% of first serve points and didn’t face a break point, converting three of 13 chances to break on Zhu’s serve.

“It was a really great match for me,” Gauff said. “Each match I’m improving and that’s what I love to see. She’s not an easy player obviously, beating Venus yesterday and she was probably coming off a lot of momentum. But I was glad I was able to stay focused.”

Gauff adapted better than most to the indoor courts which players say are faster and slicker than those outdoors. Her game seemed unaffected and she played her groundstrokes with confidence.

But Gauff missed the crowd.

“It’s not the ideal conditions to play in, no fans and I’m sad they can’t see the matches,” she said. “But at the end of the day it’s tennis and I’m glad to be on the court.”

Gauff’s view contrasted with that of Raducanu, who blamed the indoor courts for the ankle injury she sustained during her second-round match on Thursday.

Raducanu, who beat Fernandez in the 2021 U.S. Open final, said the courts were too slippery. She rolled her left ankle in the second set of her match against Slovakian qualifier Viktoria Kuzmova and couldn’t continue.

Kuzmova bowed out after a 6-3, 6-2 loss to seventh-seeded Danka Kovinic.

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 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 for a berth in the final after the American fought off two match points and outlasted No. 27 Anastasia Potapova 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2) in a match that ended just before 1:30 a.m. after play had been delayed by rain.

“I haven’t been that physically tired in just a really long time,” Pegula said. “Just the humidity was taking so much out of me, and I haven’t been able to play in humidity like that in a while. It was just really tough, so really, it was just pure will.”

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.

No. 4 Daniil Medvedev, forced to start late and off his scheduled court after the rain, beat Quentin Halys 6-4, 6-2. He will face American Christopher Eubanks, who edged Adrian Mannarino in a pair of tiebreakers.

Khachanov will play Francisco Cerundolo, a semifinalist in Miami last year, in the other men’s quarterfinal.

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.