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Sabalenka, Gauff, Rybakina advance in Stuttgart

Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Stuttgart 2023 - Day 5

STUTTGART, GERMANY - APRIL 19: Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in action against Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic during the second round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Stuttgart 2023 at Porsche Arena on April 19, 2023 in Stuttgart, Germany (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)

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STUTTGART, Germany -- Second-ranked Aryna Sabalenka advanced to the quarterfinals at the Porsche Grand Prix by beating Barbora Krejcikova 6-2, 6-3.

The Australian Open champion has reached the final in Stuttgart for two straight years but has yet to win the clay-court tournament.

Krejcikova, the 2021 French Open champion, has beaten Sabalenka only once in six career meetings.

Coco Gauff, Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina and Ons Jabeur also recorded victories.

The fifth-seeded Gauff fought off a deciding-set comeback from Veronika Kudermetova to win 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (3) and move into the second round.

Gauff’s Russian opponent won four straight games to take the second set from 4-2 down and came back from 5-3 down in the decider to force a tiebreaker before Gauff finally secured the win. The 19-year-old American plays Anastasia Potapova next.

Gauff is playing her first tournament since splitting with coach Diego Moyano following the Miami Open.

Rybakina won five games in a row to seal a 7-5, 6-3 win over Jule Niemeier after trailing 3-1 in the second set. She next plays Beatriz Haddad Maia.

The third-seeded Jabeur beat Jelena Ostapenko 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Playing each other for the third time in four tournaments, Karolina Pliskova beat eighth-seeded Maria Sakkari 6-2, 6-3 to set up a second-round meeting with Donna Vekic. Pliskova takes a 4-3 lead in career meetings with Sakkari, who eliminated the Czech player in the third round at Indian Wells last month before going on to reach the semifinals.