Jelena Ostapenko is through to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open after a 7-5 6-3 win over Coco Gauff.
The 2017 French Open champion was at her very best to knock out world No. 4 Gauff in straight sets, winning the baseline battle throughout and brought an end to the American’s unbeaten start to 2023.
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“She’s such a great player,” Ostapenko said of Gauff after the match.
“Super young and she’s playing really well and fighting until the very last point, but I really had nothing to lose. I just went there and tried to show my best and try to fight for every point and make it hard for her. I’m really happy with the win.
“I had to stay positive all the time and I knew I had to play aggressive to beat her. I was trying to step into the court.
“Even I missed some balls I knew if I did everything right I would put some balls in the court and in the end I kept her so much pressure and it brought me a win.”
On playing Rybakina next, she said: “I think she serves well. It’s most important to play my game again. Aggressive and keep her under pressure. We’ll see what happens I’ll just try to enjoy it as much as possible.”
In their first meeting since 2019, a vicious cross-court winner off Gauff’s backhand handed the American the first break of the match to take a 2-1 lead, but Ostapenko broke back in the very next game.
Ostapenko had to save four break points in a tight seventh game to hold for 4-3 and it was the Latvian’s aggression which paid off.
The No. 17 seed was able to seal the first set in 49 minutes, breaking the Gauff serve to take set point with a backhand volley at the net.
Ostapenko had been in all of Gauff’s service games and she finally got the breakthrough she was looking for in the eighth game. She moved into a 5-3 lead with her first break point of the set when Gauff fired a forehand long.
There was no way back for Gauff at that point as Ostapenko confidently served it out to produce one of her finest wins in recent years.
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