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By Richard Pagliaro | Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Coco Gauff edged Petra Martic 7-5-, 5-7, 7-6(2) and Jessica Pegula topped Anna Blinkova 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-1 to reach the round of 16 in Beijing.

Photo credit: Fred Lee/Getty

Jolting opposition and jet leg can't ground Coco Gauff's winning flight.

A gritty Gauff out-dueled Petra Martic 7-5-, 5-7, 7-6(2) in a three-hour fight to score her 14th consecutive victory in Beijing today.

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US Open champion Gauff equals Iga Swiatek for the longest WTA winning streak this season.

The third-seeded Gauff improved to 46-13 in 2023, including a 35-6 record on hard courts. Gauff is the first American teenager to win 35 or more hard-court matches in a single season since Venus Williams won 42 hard-court matches back in 1999.

Court coverage, physicality and fitness helped Gauff withstand Martic's stiff test today. Gauff hit 31 winners—eight more than Martic.

The pair traded breaks to start the decisive set.

World No. 48 Martic converted her third break point breaking for 5-4.

Serving for the match, Martic could not close as Gauff rapped crackling returns breaking back at 15 to level after 10 games.

Winning a draining baseline point to go up 2-1 in the third-set tiebreaker ignited Gauff.

The Delray Beach-born baseliner stormed through five straight points to go up 5-1 in the breaker.

Gauff whipped a forehand drive volley winner for match points and wrapped a three-hour, one-minute win when Martic's final shot expired in net.

The third-seeded Gauff, who survived Martic for the second time in as many meetings, will face either 16th-seeded Veronika Kudermetova or Lesia Tsurenko in the round of 16.

Earlier, Jessica Pegula won 12 of the final 15 games rallying past Anna Blinkova 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-1.

The fourth-seeded Pegula converted seven of 19 break points in a two hour, five-minute victory.

Fresh off her run to the Tokyo final, Pegula scored her 13th victory in her last 16 matches.

Montreal champion Pegula, who raised her 2023 record to 50-16. Pursuing her fourth career title, Pegula will face 2017 Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko for a quarterfinal spot.

The 13th-seeded Ostapenko advanced on a walkover from Linda Noskova

In a match of heavy hitters, top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka stopped Briton Katie Boulter 7-5, 7-6(2). 

World No. 1 Sabalenka hit 8 aces against 7 double faults and saved 10 of 12 break points in a two hour, 32-minute victory.

"I think that's what's makes the difference. In the key moments I played a little bit better than her," Sabalenka said. "I think, yeah, it was all about the last games in each set.

"I mean, she had the opportunity. I'm super happy that I didn't give her easily those sets. I was keep fighting, keep trying. Yeah, that's what makes the different."

Australian Open champion Sabalenka is bidding to join Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki and Naomi Osaka as the fourth woman to win Melbourne and Beijing in the same season.

Sabalenka, who improved to 52-11 on the season, will play Italian Jasmine Paolini for a spot in the quarterfinals.

The feisty Paolini has beaten Sabalenka in two of three meetings, including at three-set win at the 2022 Indian Wells, which has the top seed aiming for revenge in their rematch.

"Last year Indian Wells I wasn't my best shape," Sabalenka said. "I was struggling a lot with a lot of different things. I would say it wasn't me last year at the Indian Wells.

"I'm really happy to have this opportunity for revenge. I'll do my best in the next match. Yeah, hopefully I can get back this revenge."

Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk knocked off seventh-seeded Ons Jabeur 7-6(5), 6-1 snapping the Ningbo champion's six-match winning streak. Kostyuk takes on hard-hitting Liudmila Samsonova in the round of 16. 

World No. 2 Iga Swiatek pounded out a 6-4, 6-1 win over Varvara Gracheva.

It was Swiatek's Tour-best 59th victory of the year and made Polish history in the process.

Swiatek will face compatriot Magda Linette in the round of 16 marking the first time in China Open history two Polish women have reached the round of 16.


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