WTA Rome: Cori Gauff tops Aryna Sabalenka. Ashleigh Barty advances

The 17-year-old Cori Gauff advanced to the quarter-final of the Rome Open following a notable 7-5, 6-3 victory over world no. 4 Aryna Sabalenka. The Madrid Open champion couldn’t match the youngster’s pace, suffering four breaks and converting only one break chance against a rock-solid American who did everything right to remain on the title course. Cori made a promising start, grabbed an early break and opened a 4-2 advantage before Aryna rattled off three straight games and moved 5-4 ahead. Making another strong push, Gauff claimed 12 of the last 15 points and claimed the opener with a break at 5-5 and a hold at love. The Belarusian saved break points in the second set’s fifth game to gain a 3-2 advantage before the American shifted into a higher gear and moved over the top with four straight games on her tally.

Ashleigh Barty and Cori Gauff will battle in the Rome Open quarter-final.

Cori broke Aryna in games seven and nine, celebrating the victory when her rival netted a backhand in the final point. World no. 1 Ashleigh Barty toppled Veronika Kudermetova 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 21 minutes, hoping for a deep run and a one step further than in Madrid, where she lost to Sabalenka in the final. The Aussie fired nine aces and fended off six out of seven break points to keep the pressure on the other side. Kudermetova served under 50% and gave serve away four times to lose an early advantage and struggle against the world’s best player in the rest of the clash.

From 2-0 down in the first set, Ashleigh survived a couple of challenging service games and opened a 5-2 lead with a notable streak. The Russian saved three set points in game eight before the Aussie closed the opener with a comfortable hold in game nine. The second set was more fluid, with only five points for those who lost the opening eight games. Barty produced four incredible holds and scored an early break to control the scoreboard. Serving to stay in the match at 3-5, Kudermetova got broken following a backhand error, propelling Ashleigh into the quarters and towards the Cori Gauff clash on Friday.

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