Gauff Rallies Past Sabalenka, Will Meet Halep In Toronto Masters QF; Swiatek Upset
A 3-0 lead in the third wasn’t enough for Aryna Sabalenka who couldn’t hold on to beat Coco Gauff. The American rallied to level then for the second straight day won a final set breaker to take the match 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(4) in 3 hours, 13 minutes, the longest match of Gauff’s young career.
Gauff was in full control over the sputtering, double-faulting Sabalenka who was down a set and 4-1. But Sabalenka loosened up as Gauff tightened and the Belarussian ran off eight straight games to go up 3-0 in the third.
Now behind, Gauff settled down in the wind and found her footwork again. While both were double faulting (18 for Sabalenka, 15 for Gauff), Gauff was the better mover down the stretch and handled the pressure.
“It definitely gives me a lot of confidence because I know I can tough it out in those tough moments,” Gauff said. “These are the type of players that I need to have to beat if I want to win a Grand Slam.
“So these matches are giving me more confidence. And I know how it feels in those moments against these players. They’re not going to give you anything and you shouldn’t expect that.”
She also explained the turn in the second.
“Pretty much from 3-0 up in the second to to that point [in the third], I was reverting back to old mentalities,” Gauff said. “And I said if I was going to lose, I’m not going to lose like this. So I had to change. And that’s what I did.”
Next for Gauff is Simona Halep who eased past Jil Tiechmann 6-2, 7-5. Halep has won all three meeting with Gauff.
“She’s super young,” Halep said. “She’s powerful, she’s strong. So it’s going to be a tough match like always. We played a few times together. It’s a big challenge for me again to play quarters here in Canada. I feel confident, but I know that it’s going to be tough. So tomorrow’s a new day and I will fight like today for my match.”
Top seed and world No. 1 Iga Swiatek tumbled out as her 20-match hard court streak came to an end by Beatrice Haddad Maia. The lefty Brazilian who played so well on the grass, broke Swiatek to take the match 6-4-, 3-6, 7-5 in three hours.
“I had a lot of tough moments in my career,” Haddad Maia said. “I have already had four surgeries and I’m only 26 years old. So when I have special moments I try to enjoy. Because sometimes we think, Oh, no, I’m not that happy. I’m not that, I don’t think about winning.
“But the truth is that I work for like 15 years to live this moment, to live this dream that I worked a lot.”
Finalists from last year had a mixed day as defending champion Camila Giorgi failed to convert a match point and Jessica Pegula took advantage winning in three. And 2021 runner-up Karolina Pliskova kept rolling getting past Maria Sakkari in three.
Canadian favorite Bianca Andreescu fell in three sets to Chinese phenom Qinwen Zheng. She’ll now get Zheng.
In the late match, former champion Belinda Bencic backed up her win over Serena Williams getting past Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-3. Haddad Maia will be next.
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