Following a comfortable three sets victory over No.17 seed Maria Sakkari, Gauff met Mutua Madrid champion and one of the best performers of the season Sabalenka in the round of 16 on Pietrangeli Court in Rome.
But, an American rising star took merely an hour and 29 minutes to send Belarusian packing to enter this year’s fourth quarter-final. Gauff had managed to play the last-eight matches at the Adelaide International, Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships and Charleston Open this year.
Gauff saved 80% breakpoints, won nearly 73% first-serve points and did not commit any double faults against World No.4 Sabalenka.
Gauff’s Third Career Best Win
It was the first top ten win for Coco Gauff since defeating No.4 Naomi Osaka at the 2020 Australian Open and the third top ten win of American’s professional tennis career. Before Osaka and Sabalenka, Gauff upset the former top ten Kiki Bertens during her first WTA singles title run at the 2019 Linza Open.
After a pre-quarterfinal triumph in Italy, Coco Gauff leads Aryna Sabalenka(2-1) in their head-to-head record.
At the first meeting, American beat Belarusian in three sets at the Top Seed Open last year. Later on, in the second encounter, Sabalenka ousted Gauff after dropping the first set during the 2020 Ostrava Open.
Coco Gauff Sets Up Ashleigh Barty Quarterfinal Showdown at Italian Open 2021
However, Coco Gauff will now face World No.1 Ashleigh Barty, who defeated Russian Veronika Kudermetova in straight sets(6-3, 6-3) in her fixture. It will be the first time meeting between American and Australian on the WTA Tour.
Barty has a win-loss record of 13-2 in the clay-court swing, while Gauff claimed six wins out of 8 matches. Notably, Ashleigh Barty captured the Stuttgart Open title and reached the Mutua Madrid Open final.