German Open: Alexandrova upsets Gauff to reach quarterfinals


Berlin, June 22 (IANS) Ekaterina Alexandrova extended her winning streak to seven matches with a 75-minute 6-4, 6-0 upset of No.5 seed Coco Gauff in the second round of the German Open and reached the quarterfinals, here on Thursday.

Alexandrova, who successfully defended her ‘s-Hertogenbosch title last week, notched her second Top 10 win of the year following her defeat of Belinda Bencic in Miami, and the 11th of her career overall.

The 28-year-old had lost to Gauff from two match points up in their only previous meeting, 7-6(3), 2-6, 7-6(8) in the first round of Dubai 2021. However, after falling behind 3-1 in the first set, she won 11 of the last 12 games to reach the Berlin quarterfinals for the second time in her career.

“Honestly, I don’t know,” said Alexandrova afterwards when asked about her strong grass-court form.

“Grass is not my favorite surface, but somehow I’m managing to play so well on it. And maybe the score looks easy, but it’s never like that because she played amazing. I needed to stay focused during every single point to keep it that way. I’m just hoping I can keep this form as long as I can,” she added.

A bright start for Gauff, in which she showed off her court coverage and net skills en route to breaking Alexandrova for 3-1, proved to be a false dawn. Alexandrova immediately broke back and thereafter won all three of the contest’s multi-deuce tussles to run away with the scoreboard.

The first was at 4-4 in the first set. Gauff saved four break points in this game alone with service winners, but a stellar volley from Alexandrova converted her fifth. She duly served out the opener with little fuss.

The second set opened with two tight games. In the first, Gauff found superb winners to fend off the first three break points, but was unable to reach game point herself — and conceded the break with a netted forehand on the fourth break point. She had two opportunities to break Alexandrova back immediately, but was stymied by solid serving from her opponent.

Gauff had her share of crowd-pleasing winners in the second set, notably two reflexed counterpunching reactions. However, she was undone by a slew of cheap mistakes, including 27 unforced errors on the forehand side alone.

By contrast, Alexandrova was rock-solid in executing her first-strike tennis to set up a quarterfinal meeting with either No.1 seed Aryna Sabalenka or Veronika Kudermetova.



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