AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) —— Coco Gauff, the reigning U.S. Open champion, advanced to the semifinals of the Auckland Tennis Classic on Friday by defeating Varvara Gracheva of France 6-1, 6-1 on a wet quarterfinals day.
The defending champion and top-seeded player won the first set in just 24 minutes and the match in 52 minutes. Gauff has not dropped a set in the tournament and did not lose a set while defending his title from the previous year.
Precipitation threatened to terminate the match and caused a delay in its commencement. However, Gauff stormed to victory as dark clouds approached, eliminating five cards in the process.
Gauff stated, “I believe I served exceptionally well, if not the best I’ve done thus far at this tournament, which is an area I focused heavily on improving during the off-season.” “There was significantly more precipitation the year before, so I was relieved to complete my match.”
In the semifinals, Gauff will face fellow American Emma Navarro. 6-4, 4-3, the fourth-seeded Navarro defeated Petra Martic of France.
When they met in Cincinnati in August, Navarro was defeated 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 by Martic. On Friday, she overcame the deficit with an authoritative performance, converting 80% of her first serves and notably targeting Martic on her second.
Navarro said, “Tennis always keeps us on our toes, so you have to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances such as rain delays.” I was pleased with my performance today; I felt at ease while playing tennis here.”
Navarro surged to a 4-0 lead in the second set before Martic claimed a service break; the match then continued on serve until Navarro converted her third match point to claim the victory.