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Indian Wells: Sabalenka sweeps past Gauff to reach semifinals

IANS | March 16, 2023 12:17 PM

USA: Reigning Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka continued her spectacular start to the season by defeating No.6 seed Coco Gauff 6-4, 6-0 to reach the Indian Wells Masters semifinals, here.

With her win, No.2 seed Sabalenka improved her 2023 win-loss record to 16-1 with her 64-minute victory over Gauff, the last remaining American in the women's singles draw in the Californian desert.

Sabalenka will now meet last year's finalist Maria Sakkari in the semifinals, after No.7 seed Sakkari beat No.15 seed Petra Kvitova in three sets in Wednesday's evening quarterfinal.

Both Sabalenka and Gauff were playing in their first Indian Wells quarterfinal, and it was World No.2 Sabalenka who handled the occasion more successfully. For the first time all season, Sabalenka made it through a match without facing a single break point.

Gauff had previously been a thorn in Sabalenka's side, with the 19-year-old American coming out on top in three of their four prior meetings, including the last two.

This time around, though, Sabalenka triumphed, hitting 18 winners to Gauff's 12, while also firing 14 fewer unforced errors than Gauff. Sabalenka is now one victory away from tying Caroline Garcia for the most WTA main-draw match-wins this season, with 17.

"I didn't really think about our previous matches. I feel a little bit different on the court this year. I feel like I'm a little bit of a different player. Yeah, I wasn't really focusing on the last matches against her. I was focused on myself, " Sabalenka was quoted as saying by WTA.

The 24-year old Sabalenka has a 4-3 edge over Sakkari in their rivalry, but Sakkari has won their last two meetings, in the WTA Finals group stages in both 2021 and 2022.

"It's always tough battles against [Kvitova and Sakkari], " Sabalenka said, before her opponent was determined.

"I think it's going to be long rallies because of the court. I think if I'll be able to bring my best tennis and I will be able to stay focused from the beginning until the end, I think, yeah, I can get this win, " she added.

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