Gauff Stuns Sabalenka, Sets Showdown v Barty In Rome Masters QF; Swiatek Saves MPs

by Staff | May 13th, 2021, 6:33 pm
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American teen sensation Coco Gauff put together one of her best wins stunning the red-hot Aryna Sabalenka 7-5, 6-3.

Sabalenka had won 11 of her last 12 matches including the Madrid title on Saturday, but the Belrussian has struggled against young Americans losing twice to Amanda Anisimova and now a second to Coco Gauff. And today, after just 22 errors to 36 unforced, it was Gauff securing her second Top 5 win.

“Definitely I guess a 10 out of 10,” Gauff said of rating her play. “I think I played pretty well the whole match. She’s not an easy opponent. I mean, sometimes you’re always on defense, so sometimes you just have to scramble a little bit. I think today I played smart and well.

“She brings the intensity on the court from the first point. I have to make sure that I manage that and bring even more intensity. I think you feel it the whole match.

“I think it’s one of those matches that for me as a fan, I mean, if I were to be able to watch myself play, that would be a match that I would want to watch because you know we’re going to bring everything we have from the beginning to the end.”

Gauff will now face world No. 1 Ash Barty who rolled past Veronika Kudermetova 6-3, 6-3. The two have never played before nor practiced together.

“Coco has shown that she loves to bring her best tennis against the players that challenge her the most,” Barty said. “She’s played an exceptional tournament thus far. She’s got the ability to take the game on. She’s aggressive. She can run. She can trust her legs.

“I think it’s going to be important for me to try to get the match back on my terms as often as possible. I know when they’re in her patterns, the way she likes to play, she’s extremely dangerous and very good at what she does.”

Added Gauff, “She’s a very smart player. I don’t really expect. I mean, no mistakes are stupid, but no erratic errors, if that makes sense, from her. She’s going to play tricky with the slice. She likes the clay.”

Reigning French champion Iga Swiatek had to save two match points in a tight tussle against Barbora Krejcikova 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-5. The Czech held two match points in the second at 6-5.

Swiatek’s win puts her into the quarterfinals against Elina Svitolina who dominated another French champion Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 6-2.

“I’m really happy I could win that, I could turn the score around,” Swiatek said. “Usually in this situation I was the kind of person that was kind of giving up mentally. Today, even though I wasn’t feeling completely, like, perfect on court, I had some issues as well. I could manage with everything and just win points.”

Former champion Karolina Pliskova is having her best week in a while. The Czech eased past former No. 2 Vera Zvonareva 7-5, 6-3. She’ll now get former French winner Jelena Ostapenko who advanced over Angelique Kerber 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

The other quarter pits American Jessica Pegula against Petra Martic. Pegula kept her good week going beating Ekatarina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-4. Martic needed to outlast Nadia Podoroska 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

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