26 January 2020

Coco Gauff misses out on maiden Grand Slam quarter-final after Sofia Kenin fightback while Petra Kvitova beats Maria Sakkari in gritty encounter at Australian Open

Coco Gauff's dreams of reaching her first Grand Slam quarter-final were dashed after she lost in three sets 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-0 to fellow American and number 14 seed Sofia Kenin.

The teenager, who shocked defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round, continued her momentum from that match into the first set, taking it 7-5 in a hotly- contested tie break.

Kenin dug deep and used her few extra years of experience to wear the teenager down in the second to take it 6-3 and take the match into a decider.

The 21 year-old immediately capitalised, breaking Gauff's serve with a well-directed lob in the first game. 

With eyes on her first Grand Slam quarter-final place, Kenin continued to show her class, while errors crept into 15-year-old Gauff's game.

Despite hitting winners - 39 to 28 throughout the match - Gauff could not keep up the intensity and failed to get a game on the board in the decider of a clash lasting two hours and nine minutes.

"I'm definitely going to savour this and continue to kind of build and get better to work for moments like this, moments like that last match," Gauff said afterwards.

"Even today, even though I lost, I still had a lot of fun. I mean, now looking back, I'm not as disappointed anymore."

Kenin will now face Tunisia's Ons Jabeur in the quarter-finals, after Jabeur, who has already knocked out retiring Caroline Wozniacki, eliminated No 27 seed Wang Qiang of China in straight sets 7-6(4), 6-1.

Elsewhere, No 7 seed, and last year's runner up, Petra Kvitova continued her blistering return to the Australian Open quarter finals battling back from a set down to beat Greece's Maria Sakkari 

The Czech player smashed 33 winners and broke Sakkari's serve eight times en route to a 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-2 victory

Going into the match, the Greek player led their head-to-heads 2-1 after their three meetings last year and used this confidence to edge a hotly contested first set in a tie-break.

Unperturbed at losing a set for the first time this tournament, Kvitova came back fighting and the two exchanged breaks to reach 3-3 before the Czech changed gear and took the next three games to level the match.

Sakkari could not keep up as Kvitova capitalised on the momentum and quickly stormed to a 3-0 lead in the decider eventually taking the third set 6-2.

“I think, you know, from the beginning it was a lot of nerves out there,” Kvitova said after the game. “I didn't feel the best. I was just, you know, too tight and everything was flying somewhere...

“In the end of the day, it was about fighting spirit in a way. Even I didn't play the best, Maria played really great tennis and it was nice to share court with her, for sure…  I'm so happy that in the end I felt my game again.”

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