American tennis phenom Coco Gauff made a solid restart to the season by clinching a victory against her compatriot Caroline Dolehide. That aided her in setting up the second-round match against the second seed in Lexington, Aryna Sabalenka.
In the thrilling see-sawing match, Gauff defeated WTA’s powerful player Sabalenka 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 48 minutes. When The Top Seed Open 2020’s draw was out, Coco versus Aryna was one of the popcorn matches and the battle lived up to its hype.
“Just to stay calm and composed and make her play balls. My goal was to make her play as many balls as possible,” Gauff said post her win.
With this win, Coco booked a spot for herself in the quarterfinals of WTA Lexington where she will face Ons Jabeur.
With the young American executing sheer shot-making in the opening set against Sabalenka, she raced to take a 4-2 lead. Sabalenka was counterpunching Coco’s blistering winners, but ultimately the World Number 11 was trailing by 5-2 in the opener despite striking some unplayable winners.
Refusing to give up in the set, the Belarusian ace bounced back to cover the difference. She led by a 6-5 lead and progressed to serve for the set. However, she couldn’t overcome the challenges of the 16-year-old and lost her serve and the set moved into a tiebreaker.
World number 53 Gauff continued to slam winners. Sabalenka gave everything to seize the set, but it was the teenage wizard who sealed the set by dropping four points in the breaker with a forehand cross-court winner from the net.
Sabalenka opened the second with her serve and volley skills and continued to play a safe game on her serves. She broke Gauff’s serve and backed it up for a 4-1 lead. With her offensive tennis, she further extended her lead to 5-2.
Despite the trail, Coco was pumped to outperform her Belarusian opponent and her overwhelming volleys aided her in claiming the next two games at 5-4.
While serving to stay in the set, Gauff’s erroneous tennis helped Sabalenka level the match as she pulled off the set 6-4 with Coco netting the ball.
Gauff began the set by breaking Aryna’s serve with her arsenal of winners. While Coco was trying to consolidate her serve, Aryna leveled the game scores to deuce and continued to avenge for her lost service game. With patience and diligence in her game, Coco wore a ‘Hold Forever’ attitude and continued to slam the yellow ball harder and harder.
However, by trying to be authoritative Coco lost her serve at 2-2 after committing a double fault. Also, the winners from Aryna were solid.
The battle once against flipped on Coco’s side as she broke back at 3-2. Sabalenka missed two important points on the net. But in the very next game, the 10th double fault from Coco forced her to surrender her service game at 3-3. A prolonged game on Aryna’s serve, she saved a break point and simultaneously hit her 13th double fault of the match for a gusty hold at 4-3.
Later Gauff her serve to 15, and with Sabalenka’s shabby control on her serve in the next game Gauff broke her serve at 5-4 and progressed to serve of place in the quarterfinals.
Later, Coco Gauff served out the match and pulled off the third Top 15 win of her career.