On Friday at the French Open, Coco Gauff avoided a fate that's befallen so many seeds at Grand Slams: an upset loss to Kaia Kanepi.
The American teenager moved through to the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-4 win over the Estonian veteran, who, at nearly 37, is twice Gauff's age. Kanepi was bidding for her second win against a seeded player this fortnight. She beat No.10 seed Garbiñe Muguruza in the first round, but No.18 seed Gauff had little trouble in the 83-minute victory.
After dropping serve to start the match, Gauff won five straight games and rode early leads through to her second career victory against Kanepi. Willing to dig in and defend when needed, Gauff avoided a pitfall in the opener from 5-1 up and also won four of the last five games in the second set after Kanepi recovered from an early break behind.
For a spot in the quarterfinals in back-to-back years, Gauff will face No.31 seed Elise Mertens, who was a 6-2, 6-3 winner over Varvara Gracheva. The Belgian is through to the fourth round for the second time in six career appearances in Paris. She broke a string of three straight third-round losses by beating Gracheva.
"I think that now I feel like mentally I'm in a better place than I was last year, coming into the second week I think sometimes that's what makes Grand Slams harder is because it is two weeks and there is no other way to prepare for two weeks of playing," Gauff said.
"I think going into my next match, I played her before, and I think I'm a lot more relaxed than going into my fourth-round match last year. I think I'm a lot more prepared to play two weeks of tennis."
Sasnovich scores another seeded win; Trevisan's streak continues
Angelique Kerber and Martina Trevisan both came into the French Open on winning streaks. Only one will feature in the last 16, though, after Aliaksandra Sasnovich scored her second win against a Grand Slam champion in Paris with in a 6-4, 7-6(5) upset of the No.21-seeded Kerber.
Sasnovich lost to Kerber in three sets last week during the latter's title-winning run in Strasbourg, but she didn't need to go the distance to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for a second time in her career. Broken to start the match, and twice in the second set, Sasnovich recovered each time.
With Kerber's winning streak snapped at seven, Italy's Trevisan extended hers to eight with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Australian wildcard Daria Saville, who had upset No.32 seed and two-time major-winner Petra Kvitova in Round 2.
A surprise quarterfinalist in Paris in 2020 out of qualifying, Trevisan can return to the last eight by beating Sasnovich next in their first career meeting.
"Today was very special. I never played with a crowd like this. ... when I was playing, I heard a lot of, Martina, Martina, and it gave me a lot of energy," Trevisan said. "I'm not feeling pressure right now, I'm just enjoy the moment, I'm just playing well. I'm very consistent during my match. So I'm not feeling any pressure, just enjoy the moment and nothing else."