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Coco Gauff beats Caroline Wozniacki to reach the quarterfinals of the US Open

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ESPN News ServicesSeptember 3, 2023 at 05:54 PM ET4 minutes to read

Coco Gauff took off after defeating Caroline Wozniacki in three sets

Coco Gauff held on to beat Caroline Wozniacki in three sets to advance to the quarterfinals of the US Open.

NEW YORK – The second group was slipping away Coco Gauff is in the fourth round of the US Open on Sunday, so maybe she was frustrated by that…or the stumbling that caused her to do splits while getting broken…or the pair of double faults that helped Caroline Wozniacki win that match.

Or perhaps it was simply that the last thing she wanted to hear at that moment was the almost incessant chatter coming from Brad Gilbert, one of her coaches sitting in the front row at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Either way, Goff turned to Gilbert and said, “Please stop.” Then, during the next match, which allowed Wozniacki to force a third set, Gauff told him: “Stop talking.”

It was as Wozniacki grabbed four games in a row to double serve in the third set. Then, just as the match seemed to be slipping away, thanks in part to a series of unforced errors, Gauff straightened up and pulled away. She collected her last six matches to win 6-3 3-6 6-1 over Wozniacki, the 33-year-old mother of two who recently came out of retirement.

During her on-court interview, sixth seed Gauff described the interaction with her entourage as a “stress reaction”.

“Sometimes I tell them to calm down a bit, because I like to think and find matches in my own way,” said the 19-year-old from Florida.

And she appears to be somewhat skilled at it. Gauff became the first American teenager since Serena Williams more than two decades ago to reach the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows in two consecutive years.

In 2022, Gauff lost to Caroline Garcia in that round. This time the opponent will be the defending champion Iga Swiatek or No. 20 Jelena Ostapenko. Swiatk was due to face top seed Ostapenko on Sunday night, after 23-times grand slam champion Novak Djokovic took on qualifier Borna Jogo.

Gauff, whose best performance at a major tournament was to reach the final of the 2022 French Open, has won 15 of her past 16 matches. The race follows her first-round exit at Wimbledon last July and includes the two biggest titles of her career, the DC Open and Cincinnati. It also coincides with the addition of Pere Ripa as her full-time coach and Gilbert in a role described as interim advisor.

Television microphones caught Gilbert repeatedly pitching his thoughts to Goff during matches over the past week.

It was the hottest day of the tournament so far, with temperatures reaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) and Gauff still missing the mark in the second set, notching up 22 unforced errors. But she managed to improve on that significantly, committing just eight errors in the final set.

“She was always a great athlete. She always had the backhand, the serve and the fighting spirit,” Wozniacki said. “Now I feel like it’s all coming together for her.”

In the third set, with the playing surface covered in shadows, Wozniacki told chair referee Luiz Azemar Inzel that it was difficult to see the ball and asked for the court lights to be turned on.

“I would really appreciate that,” Wozniacki said.

did not happen. Wozniacki, the 2018 Australian Open champion and two-time runner-up in New York, was unable to match Gauff in every match.

“She’s back and it looks like she never left,” said Gauff, who won three of her four matches at the tournament in three sets. “Being here on the field with her today was an honor.”

The other women’s quarterfinal match will be No. 10 Karolina Muchova against No. 30 Sorana Cirstea.

Muchova, who reached the final of Wimbledon last July, reached the quarter-finals of the US Open for the first time, defeating Wang Xinyu 6-3, 5-7, 6-1. Cirstea has not reached the quarter-finals of a major tournament since the 2009 French Open and returned to that round by defeating No. 15 seed Belinda Bencic 6-3 6-3.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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