Coco Gauff continued her ascent up the WTA tennis ladder topping 4-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka in the match of the day in pro tennis. Gauff needed eight match points and held off a late comeback bid to win it 6-4, 6-4 and advance to the quarterfinals in San Jose.
“I think I improved in all aspects and today showed it,” said Gauff. “I knew playing Naomi was going to be tough. I think she has one of the best baseline games in the game. When I play her I know that if she does win the match that’s where she’s going to get me, in those baseline rallies. I think today I really held my ground and winning a lot more of those rallies than she was. That just shows how much I’m improving. The last three weeks, so many hours on the court and I’m glad it’s coming together.”
The teen powered her way to a 6-4, 5-1 lead before Osaka mounted a rally to get back to 5-4. However, Gauff was able to close it out
“At 5-1, 0-40 I was not settled at all,” Gauff said. “It’s very rare that someone comes back from 0-40 twice but it’s Naomi. That just shows how much of a fight she has. She could have easily thrown in the towel but she didn’t.”
Osaka saved seven match points, twice digging out of a 0-40 deficit on serve in the second.
“When I was playing the match just now I realized that I’ve been letting people call me mentally weak for so long that I forgot who I was,” said Osaka who was playing her first event since the French Open. “I realized that that’s something that I do. I lost the match today but I feel really confident in who I am. I feel like the pressure doesn’t beat me. I am the pressure. I’m really happy with that.”
The two rivals have split their four meetings.
Gauff will now face the second-seeded Paula Badosa in the quarters.
Top seed Maria Sakkari was bounced from the event by Shelby Rogers who scored another upset with a 6-1, 6-3 victory. Rogers is now 3-0 against the Greek star. Rogers will now meet Amanda Anisimova.
Aryna Sabalenka stayed alive but barely, overcoming 20 double faults and a third set deficit to deny Carolina Dolehide 5-7, 6-1, 7-5. Next for the Belarussian is French semifinalist Daria Kasatkina.
Ons Jabeur will also meet Veronika Kudermetova.
In Washington, US Open champion Emma Raducanu outlasted Camila Osorio 7-6(5), 7-6(4) in the searing afternoon heat. At 2 hours, 50 minutes, the battle was the longest two-set on the WTA this season.
The Brit led 5-1 in the first and 4-2 in the second before Osorio’s comebacks fell just short.
“Honestly three hours in that condition, I think that I probably played in Landisville, Pennsylvania, last year, and I’d say there it was probably worse conditions, but I wasn’t out there for three hours with the length of rallies that I was out there today,” Raducanu said. “So conditions-wise it was probably hotter and tougher over there, but match-wise I think it’s got to be one of the most physical matches I have ever played.”
In the quarterfinals for Raducanu will be the big-hitting Liudmila Samsonova.
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