Tennis: Gauff into the Australian Open semifinals after beating Kostyuk in 3 sets

AP , Tuesday 23 Jan 2024

Coco Gauff says she hopes her “bad” match was out of the way at the Australian Open after overcoming a slew of errors to beat Marta Kostyuk 7-6 (6), 6-7 (3), 6-2 in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff of the U.S. celebrates after defeating Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine in their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. AP

The U.S. Open champion had 51 unforced errors, nine double faults and just 17 winners but battled past Kostyuk in 3 hours and 8 minutes.

The 19-year-old American has won 12 consecutive matches in Grand Slams and is two victories from winning back-to-back major titles. She’ll play defending champion Aryna Sabalenka or Barbora Krejcikova for a place in the final.

“I think today was definitely a C game,” Gauff said. “Didn’t play my best tennis but really proud that I was able to get through today’s match. Hopefully got the bad match out of the way and I can play even better.”

Kostyuk was appearing in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Gauff’s forehand was particularly vulnerable and Kostyuk took full advantage, racing to a 5-1 lead only to show her own fragility with two double faults to hand back one of the breaks.

The American recovered to save a set point at 3-5 before leveling at 5-5. Kostyuk had another set point in the tiebreaker but Gauff won it.

The mistakes continued to flow and though she led 5-3 in the second set, Gauff could not close it out. She was two points from victory at 6-5, 40-40, but Kostyuk held and then took the tiebreak 7-3 to level.

The Ukrainian player said she was pleased to have made the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.

“Very proud of myself,” she said. “I won for myself today and I think it’s the most important thing. It’s just the beginning of the season. Looking forward for what’s ahead.

Top-seeded Novak Djokovic, who has 10 Australian Open titles among his record 24 Grand Slam crowns, was taking on 12th-seeded American Taylor Fritz for a place in the semifinals. Djokovic has won all eight of their previous meetings.

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