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Coco Gauff reaches Australian Open semifinals with wild win

Coco Gauff’s streak of 19 service holds was snapped. Her run of 11 consecutive sets won ended. She committed three times as many unforced errors as winners.

She advanced.

The No. 4 seed Gauff dodged 37th-ranked Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine 7-6 (6), 6-7 (3), 6-2 in the Australian Open quarterfinals. At 3 hours, 8 minutes, it was the longest Grand Slam match of the 19-year-old’s career, according to Tennis Abstract.

Next up in Thursday’s semifinals: No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in a rematch of September’s U.S. Open final won by Gauff. Sabalenka hasn’t lost a set all tournament and crushed ninth-seeded Czech Barbora Krejcikova 6-2, 6-3 in Tuesday’s later quarterfinal.


“Today was definitely a C game,” Gauff said, “Hopefully got the bad match out of the way and I can play even better.”

Gauff is up to 10 consecutive match wins to start the season and 12 consecutive Grand Slam match wins when including her run to the U.S. Open title in September.

Tuesday’s victory stood out. In a 76-minute first set, Gauff went down 1-5, won the next five games to serve for the set, then was broken to go into a tiebreak.

Before the tiebreak, Kostyuk took a medical timeout for what appeared to be a blister on her big toe. In the tiebreak, Kostyuk squandered her second set point — 34 minutes after her first — and then Gauff won the next two points to end it.

Gauff won the set with five winners and 24 unforced errors.

Gauff served for the second set, too, and again was broken, then dropped the first four points of the tiebreak.

Kostyuk wilted in the third set. Gauff bolted to a 5-0 lead with just one winner. On her fourth attempt at serving out a set in this match, she succeeded.

“Fight!!!” she wrote on a court-level camera before leaving Rod Laver Arena.

“Today was frustrating because I knew how I needed to play. I just couldn’t execute,” Gauff said. “Eventually I was able to find it, which is what I’m proud of.”

Also Tuesday, Novak Djokovic beat 12th-seeded American Taylor Fritz 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach a record-extending 48th men’s Grand Slam singles semifinal.

He will play No. 4 Jannik Sinner of Italy, who swept No. 5 Andrey Rublev of Russia in the latest Tuesday quarterfinal.