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Coco Gauff extends win streak to 15 in Beijing

No. 3 seed Coco Gauff defeated No. 16 Veronika Kudermetova of Russia 7-6 (5), 6-2 on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals at the China Open in Beijing.

It was the 15th consecutive win for the 19-year-old American and reigning U.S. Open champion, the longest streak this season on the WTA Tour. Gauff is 21-1 since her first-round loss at Wimbledon.

“The first two matches, I think I was disappointed in the way that I was playing,” Gauff said. “I think I was playing a little bit more tight, not going for my shots, not going for my serve. Today I was telling myself try to hit above 110 (mph), 115 as much as I could, be more aggressive.”

Gauff converted three of four break points and got off to fast starts, taking a 3-0 lead in the first set and a 4-0 edge in the second.

She maintained her composure when Kudermetova rallied, pulling ahead 5-4 and serving at 40-0 in the opening set. Gauff fought off four set points and eventually forced the tiebreak.

“In the long run … I feel like now that the pressure is off, now that the Grand Slam season is over and I’m qualified (for the WTA Finals), I think this could be a good week to continue to work on things I need to work on,” she said. “Today I think I approached the match like that. I wish I did it earlier.”

Gauff will face No. 6 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece, who survived a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 challenge from home favorite Xinyu Wang in two hours and 31 minutes.

Top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus held off unseeded Italian Jasmine Paolini for a 6-4, 7-6 (4) win in the third round. The World No. 1 smashed 16 aces and saved five of eight break points to set up a quarterfinal clash against No. 5 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan.

“It’s always great battles against Elena. I think I just have to focus on myself, play aggressive and just play my game,” Sabalenka said. “I know that I’ll have some chances to win this match. In the last match I lost, I got nervous a little bit and I rushed a little bit more. The key against Elena is just to stay calm, stay aggressive, and not over-rush things.”

Ninth-seeded Caroline Garcia of France rolled into the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina in 83 minutes. Garcia will take on No. 2 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland for a shot at the semifinals in the WTA 1000 event.

–Field Level Media

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