Aryna Sabalenka blitzes Coco Gauff in Indian Wells quarters

Mar 15, 2023; Indian Wells, CA, USA;  Aryna Sabalenka celebrates after winning a point as she defeats Coco Gauff (USA) in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka turned in a dominant display en route to a 6-4, 6-0 victory over sixth-seeded Coco Gauff in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday in Indian Wells, Calif.

The one-sided match was done in 1 hour, 4 minutes, with Sabalenka improving her 2023 record to 17-1. The 24-year-old Belarusian won the Australian Open after prevailing in a tuneup event at Adelaide, Australia, and she took her only loss of the season in the quarterfinals at Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Sabalenka controlled the match against Gauff, a 19-year-old Atlanta native, thanks to superior serving, winning 87 percent of her first-serve points, and returning, winning half of all points on Gauff’s serve.

“I felt really great on court,” Sabalenka said. “I think I played great tennis and super happy with this win. It’s always tough matches against Coco, and I’m super happy that I was able to finish this one in two sets.”

Assessing her play this year, Sabalenka said, “I think I’m more calm on court, and I’m able to control my emotions, which help me to stay in the game no matter what, and just fight for every point, without losing my mind and without giving like easy points to opponents.”

Next up for Sabalenka is a semifinal matchup against seventh-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece. Sakkari rallied for a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory over 15th-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic on Wednesday.

After dropping the first set, Sakkari fell behind 2-0 in the second set before beginning her comeback.

“Not only I was down a set and a break, but she made me play like an amateur in the first set,” Sakkari said. “She was playing so good. I had to try and focus on different things. I had to look at the other side of the net and see what I do better, to put her in an uncomfortable position.”

Looking ahead to the match against Sabalenka, Sakkari said, “She is a different player from when I played her the last time. She just won a Grand Slam. She is so confident.”

The other two quarterfinals are scheduled for Thursday, with top-seeded Iga Swiatek of Poland opposing Sorana Cirstea of Romania after 10th-seeded Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan faces off with Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic.

–Field Level Media

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