Gauff reaches San Jose WTA quarters


SAN FRANCISCO: American teenager Coco Gauff built a big lead early then had to dig deep late for a 6-4, 6-4 victory over four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka on Thursday at the WTA hardcourt tournament in San Jose, California.

The 18-year-old, who reached her first Grand Slam final at the French Open in June, needed just one break of serve to seize the first set 6-4 in the blockbuster encounter. With booming serves and matching ground strokes, she then roared to a 5-1 lead in the second set.

But the Japanese superstar, unseeded in her first tournament since an opening-round exit at Roland Garros, didn’t go down without a fight. She saved match points — all on her own serve, before Gauff was finally able to serve it out.

Down 5-1 and 0-40, Osaka uncorked a string of big serves that kept Gauff at bay. Gauff would get one more chance in that game but hit a backhand service return into the net before Osaka fired her first ace of the match for a game point on the way to a hold of serve.



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