No.1 seed Coco Gauff of the United States booked a spot in the ASB Classic semifinals for the first time, ending the run of comeback queen Zhu Lin of China with a 6-3, 6-2 victory on Friday in Auckland.
Zhu had executed come-from-behind wins over No.6 seed Madison Brengle and former World No.1 Venus Williams to reach the quarterfinals, but World No.7 Gauff did not allow Zhu to pull off more magic, and the top seed zipped into the final four in 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Gauff was superb on serve, winning nearly 90 percent of her first-service points, firing eight aces, and never facing a break point all day.
Yet to drop a set!@CocoGauff is through to a ninth career semifinal defeating Zhu 6-3, 6-2#ASBClassic pic.twitter.com/epPkWowpDn— wta (@WTA) January 6, 2023
Once again, heavy rains forced the day session to the indoor courts, where both Gauff and Zhu had picked up their second-round wins on Thursday. Back inside, 84th-ranked Zhu kept herself in the running early, saving five break points during a gritty hold for 2-2.
Gauff, though, made her move by breaking Zhu for 5-3, then slammed two aces in the following game to wrap up the one-set lead. Gauff made it through the opening set with 15 winners to nine unforced errors.
The American had an even easier time in the second set, where she broke Zhu twice. Gauff won 10 of her 11 first-service points in the second set as she reached her first semifinal since Berlin last June.
In the final four on Saturday, Gauff will face No.7 seed Danka Kovinic of Montenegro, who also had a 6-3, 6-2 win over Slovakian qualifier Viktoria Kuzmova on the indoor courts on Friday. Kovinic had 31 winners to just nine unforced errors in the match, and, like Gauff, she never faced a break point.
Bonaventure reaches first tour-level semifinal
World No.95 Ysaline Bonaventure broke new ground later on Friday, as the Belgian blasted past No.3 seed Leylah Fernandez of Canada 6-4, 6-2 in their quarterfinal match in Auckland.
Qualifier Bonaventure had gone 0-4 in her four previous tour-level quarterfinals, but she thrived in the indoor conditions and upset 2021 US Open finalist Fernandez in just 69 minutes to reach her maiden Hologic WTA Tour semifinal.
Highlights: Bonaventure def. Fernandez
"I've been serving very well," Bonaventure said after winning the all-left-hander clash. "From the back I was trying to be as aggressive as possible and stay as consistent as possible. I knew she's an aggressive player, so I managed to do that today."
Bonaventure won 61 percent of points returning Fernandez's second service, leading to a 4-for-8 break point conversion rate. Fernandez, who had dropped only three games combined in her first two matches, had six break points of her own, but could only convert one.