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Gauff Aims to Apply Adaptability in Indian Wells

By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Saturday, March 11, 2023

Surround sound echoed in Coco Gauff's ears as she walked on court at Indian Wells.

Wearing headphones, the 18-year-old American heard the cheering support from fans and pumped up the passion on her play powering into the Indian Wells third round with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Spanish qualifier Cristina Bucsa.

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Fan favorite Gauff celebrates her 19th birthday on Monday and was energized by the festive fan atmosphere on Friday night.

"Honestly I think this is the loudest it's been for a while for me," Gauff said in her on-court interview afterward. "When I walk on the court I was listening to Love Me by Drake and Lil Wayne like normally I put my headphones on full volume and I can't hear the crowd.

"But today I heard it with that which is very rare, so thank you."

This victory vaults Gauff into a buzz-worthy third-round meeting vs. talented teenager Linda Noskova.

The 18-year-old Czech defeated 31st-seeded Amanda Anisimova 7-6(6), 6-3. The 54th-ranked Niskova saved four of six break points in an 80-minute win.

Gauff rides a 27-match winning streak against opponents ranked outside of the WTA Top 50.

Roland Garros runner-up Gauff is through to the BNP Paribas Open third round for the third time. She's never been past the round of 32 in the desert, but believes she has the all-weather game to go deeper this week.

Melbourne's motto is the only Australian city with four seasons in one day; pace of play can vary dramatically at Indian Wells between day and night sessions.

Self-described "night owl" Gauff says the hard court plays more like a clay court at night, she likes because it gives her time to execute the expansive swing of her forehand and use her jolting speed to track down balls.

However during the day, Gauff feels she gets even more productivity out of booming first serve because the ball travels through the purple court quicker during day sessions.

The world No. 6 believes she can channel either condition to suit her strengths.

"I think both conditions kind of suit me in different ways," Gauff said. "I mean, obviously at night where I do well on clay, I know a lot of people are saying the courts are playing like clay here. Definitely at night it feels like that. During the day it's obviously a lot easier for me to hit theserve and hit through with my shots.

"It's a catch-22. Imean, it just depends on I guess kind of the way I want toplay that day. I knew tonight playing against her it was going to be a little bit more of a grind and I wasn't going to power my way through the shots. It could be different in my next match."

Photo credit: BNP Paribas Open Facebook