Coco Gauff gaining confidence ahead of US Open as she takes out another top player in Toronto

Shahida Jacobs
Coco Gauff interview

Coco Gauff is not only taking out top players at the Canadian Open, but she is also spending a lot of time on court and toughing it out during difficult on court moments.

Just a day after beating Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in nearly three hours, Gauff followed it up with a three-hour and 11-minute win over sixth seed Aryna Sabalenka in the third round in Toronto.

It was the longest match of the 18-year-old’s young career, beating her two-hour and 57-minute clash with Yulia Putintseva at the Italian Open last year.

In total, Gauff has already spent seven hours on court this week, but Thursday’s 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4) win over former world No 2 Sabalenka is a big confidence booster ahead of the final major of the year, the US Open at Flushing Meadows.

The American became the youngest player to reach back-to-back quarter-finals in Canada since Jennifer Capriati in 1990 and 1991.

Gauff broke once in the first set, but both players struggled to hold in the second serve with Sabalenka edging the break count 3-2 after overturning a 0-3 deficit.

The roles were reversed in the decider as the Belarusian had a 3-0 advantage only for Gauff to break back in game five before edging the tie-breaker.

“It definitely gives me a lot of confidence because I know I can tough it out in those tough moments,” Gauff said afterward. “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 added: “But I feel like for me I needed these matches leading up into the US Open. So if I have a tough moment, I can look back on this.”

The teenager, who finished runner-up to Iga Swiatek at Wimbledon, will face Simona Halep for a place in the semi-final. Two-time major champion Halep defeated Jil Teichmann 6-2, 7-5.

“It’s a special tournament here because I always play good tennis,” Halep said. “Today was super difficult for both of us. Wind was not letting us really feel the ball. So it was a tough one, but I’m really happy that I could stay mentally strong in the end and to finish it.”

The winner of the Gauff-Halep clash will face either Jessica Pegula or Yulia Putintseva. Seventh seed Pegula took out defending champion Camila Giorgi 3-6, 6-0, 7-5 while Putintseva was a 6-3, 7-5 winner over Alison Riske-Amritraj.