Coco Gauff explains key reason behind her upset victory over Aryna Sabalenka in Lexington

WTA Tour
Coco Gauff in action

Teenager Coco Gauff has hailed her mentality after she stunned second seed Aryna Sabalenka in the second round of the Top Seed Open in Lexington.

The 16-year-old, who beat then world No 4 Naomi Osaka at this year’s Australian Open and then world No 7 Kiki Bertens in Linz last year, notched up the third top 20 win of her career.

It was far from straightforward as it took Gauff two hours and 48 minutes to get past the Belarusian, winning 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-4.

“I think my mentality pushed me to win,” the American said after reaching the quarter-final. “We’re both playing good tennis, and had our ups and downs in the match. At the end of the day, it came down to a couple close points.”

She added: “It’s pretty much impossible to play your best tennis for all three hours of a match. Keeping the level high throughout was pretty tough, but that’s just tennis, playing in different conditions, and just starting back on tour. I’m not too upset with how I played; I’m most proud of how I handled myself, staying composed on the pressure points.”

Gauff will face Ons Jabeur for a place in the semi-final after the eighth-seeded Tunisian beat Olga Govortsova 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 and she knows there is room for improvement.

“I can always improve, and I always believe I can improve, but this was also only the second match,” she said. “I thought I would be much more nervous coming into my matches, but I actually wasn’t, and I just have this mentality to have fun and enjoy the competition.

“That’s what I’ve been doing, and I would say it’s better than I thought it would be, especially because last week, my practices weren’t so good. This is definitely a big improvement from then.”

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