Coco Gauff got caught on the wrong side or a turnaround, with the American teen failing to hold onto her lead in a losing second-round effort on Thursday in Ostrava against Aryna Sabalenka.
Third seed Sanalenka from Belarus rallied from 5-2 down in the third set, annulling a pair of breaks and taking the contest into a tiebreaker for a
1-6, 7-5, 7-6(2) victory in two and a quarter hours.
Florida qualifier Gauff had defeated Sabalenka two months ago in the longest match of her young career (2:48) on hardcourt in Lexington, Kentucky.
The European took her revenge with 30 winners and despite 44 unforced errors.
“Today was a really good level compared to last time,” the winner said.
“I knew there were going to be long rallies and short balls; I had to step in every time, stay aggressive and don’t be afraid to come into net.
“She’s a great player, she’s so young and she’s moving really really well. She’s 16 and she’s playing on this level – I would like to be on this level when I was 16.”
The 55th-ranked Gauff, who won her first career title a year ago in Linz, lost a fourth consecutive three-set encounter.
“I need to play a little bit smarter on pressure points, to make my opponent play. I feel like I wasn’t nervous today – I think I just need to be smarter.
“Sometimes I have tendencies, when it gets to the end, to rush out of the points when instead I should just put the ball in the court.”
Ons Jabeur of Tunisia will line up against Greek Maria Sakkari after defeating
2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 6-4 to reach a fifth quarter-final of the season.
Ostapenko did herself no favours with eight winners and 28 unforced errors, while Jabeur stayed in balance 27/23.
“To keep myself calm in the match after so many (missed) opportunities, especially in the first set, was something I’m proud of today,” Jabeur said.
:”We were not winning our serves, which was kind of difficult, and I had to break each time. I thought I was serving good, but she was returning really well.
“It’s the end of a difficult season, so I’m always trying to find my motivation. I’m doing a great job, I’m still hungry to win more matches.”