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Coco Gauff handles Madison Keys to reach U.S. Open fourth round

Sept 2, 2022; Flushing, NY, USA; Coco Gauff of the USA hits to Madison Keys of the USA on day five of the 2022 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

No. 12 seed Coco Gauff needed just 71 minutes Friday to sweep No. 20 seed Madison Keys in an all-American third-round battle at the U.S. Open in New York.

Gauff, 18, reached the Round of 16 at the U.S. Open for the first time in her career by scoring a resounding 6-2, 6-3 victory, and has yet to drop a set in the singles tournament.

Serena Williams’ third-round match against Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia was the highlight of the nightcap schedule. Also slated to play were French No. 17 seed Caroline Garcia against Canada’s Bianca Andreescu, No. 29 seed Alison Riske-Amritraj of the U.S. against Xiyu Wang of China and Liudmila Samsonova of Russia against Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia.

Gauff said reaching the second week of the tournament, “means a lot to me. I thought, ‘Am I cursed?’ I missed my alarm so (I) was late. Kudos to my team as I wasn’t in the best spirits this morning.”

Arriving late didn’t inhibit her return game, as she won 18 of 35 first-return points, limiting Keys to 17-for-35 on her first serve. Gauff also won five break points in nine opportunities.

Gauff burst onto the scene as a 15-year-old phenom at Wimbledon in 2019 as a qualifier who upset Venus Williams in the first round and advanced all the way to the Round of 16.

Gauff reached the French Open final this year, where she lost to world No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland, and last month she achieved the No. 1 world ranking in doubles. She is still aiming for her first career Grand Slam title.

In the Round of 16, Gauff will face Shuai Zhang of China. Zhang was a 6-2, 6-4 winner over Canadian Rebecca Marino on Friday. Zhang won 33 of her 45 first-serve points (73.3 percent) and never faced a break point.

No. 5 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia and No. 18 seed Veronika Kudermetova of Russia will meet in the Round of 16 after winning Friday.

Jabeur dropped the first set before battling back to defeat American Shelby Rogers, the No. 31 seed, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Jabeur is the second-best seed remaining in the women’s draw, behind only Swiatek. It also marks her first time reaching the second week at the U.S. Open.

“I just don’t want to stop here,” Jabeur said. “You know how much I love New York, how much I want to be here. Just amazing to put the hard work, even though (my) preparation for the hard-court season wasn’t great.”

Kudermetova blitzed Dalma Galfi of Hungary 6-2, 6-0, in just 46 minutes.

–Field Level Media