WTA roundup: Gauff upsets Sabalenka in Lexington

Coco Gauff survived a match that lasted nearly three hours on Wednesday to upset second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-4 and advance to the quarterfinals at The Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky.

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Fourth Round - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 26, 2020 Cori Gauff of the U.S. celebrates during her match against Sofia Kenin of the U.S. REUTERS/Edgar Su

Both players struggled with their serves in the first tournament in the U.S. since the hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with a combined 19 double faults (11 by Sabalenka) and 14 breaks of service (seven each).

Gauff rallied from a break down in the first set, then blew a 5-3 lead by being broken in back-to-back service games. But Gauff broke right back to force a tiebreaker, where she stormed out to a 5-0 lead before wrapping it up.

Gauff hung on temporarily late in the second set but then dropped it on her own serve. In the third, Sabalenka rallied from a break down to even it twice, but Gauff broke again at 4-4 and served out to win in 2 hours, 48 minutes.

Sixth-seeded Magda Linette of Poland also fell to an American, as Jennifer Brady cruised to a 6-2, 6-3 victory in just 68 minutes.

In other matches Wednesday, No. 8 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia overcame a rough start to beat Olga Govortsova of Belarus 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, and the Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova downed Russia’s Anna Blinkova 6-4, 6-2.

Prague Open

Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic upset second-seeded Petra Martic of Croatia 6-1, 7-5 to advance to the quarterfinals.

Pliskova, ranked 69th, had nice aces and just one double fault in downing her 14th-ranked opponent. Pliskova will face Ana Bogdan of Romania in the next round. Bogdan advanced when Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko withdrew due to a rib injury.

In Wednesday’s other singles match, third-seed Elise Mertens of Belgium beat Camila Giorgi of Italy 6-4, 6-2. Mertens will play either Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek or Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard in the quarterfinals.

--Field Level Media