American Coco Gauff thrilled a partisan crowd inside Stadium 2 at the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday with a come-from-behind victory over Sweden's Rebecca Peterson.
The sixth-seeded Gauff won the last four games of a 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 fourth-round match to reach the last eight in Indian Wells for the first time in her career. Gauff will next face Aryna Sabalenka, who outlasted Barbora Krejcikova in three sets.
The American also saved three break points at 4-4 in the decider, which would've seen Peterson serve for her third career Top 10 victory and broke Peterson's serve from 30-0 down to win the match.
Coco FINDS A WAY 😤@CocoGauff comes from a break down in the final set to reach the Indian Wells quarterfinals for the first time!#TennisParadise pic.twitter.com/TNkgumcxjG— wta (@WTA) March 14, 2023
Words from the winner: Gauff had lost her first career match against Peterson, played four years ago in Midland, Michigan, in one of her first professional tournaments and was complimentary of the former Top 50 player after the match.
"Rebecca, she's not an easy opponent. I played her in one of my first pro tournaments ... and she whooped me pretty bad," Gauff said. "Today, it was just a mental thing, staying in the match. I wasn't playing my best in some moments and wasn't serving as well as I'd like to, but I think my mentality kept me in today.
"[The crowd] helped me, were cheering for me even after the second set, were rooting for me every step of the way."
Turning point: In-form qualifier Peterson, ranked World No.103, was bidding to be the first Swedish woman to reach the quarterfinals of a WTA 1000 event and gave Gauff all she could handle in 2 hours, 17 minutes on court.
Peterson won nine of 11 games after dropping the first set, in which she was the first of the two players to break serve before losing five of six games. But Gauff stymied the Swede's momentum in the early stages of the third set before officially turning the match around.
She held from 15-30 down in the fifth game to keep the deficit at a single break and stay composed after failing to convert either of two break points in the sixth game.
Aryna gets her revenge!@SabalenkaA ends Krejcikova's streak to set up an Indian Wells quarterfinal with Gauff 🙌#TennisParadise pic.twitter.com/CRNz0uSZOR— wta (@WTA) March 14, 2023
Sabalenka avenges only loss of season
No.2 seed and reigning Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka will be Gauff's quarterfinal opponent. Sabalenka moved into the elite eight at Indian Wells for the first time with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 victory over No.16 seed Barbora Krejcikova on Tuesday.
Sabalenka improved to 15-1 for the year with the 2-hour and 3-minute victory. Sabalenka fired 11 aces to keep Krejcikova at bay, despite converting only three of her 11 break points in the match.
Highlights: Sabalenka def. Krejcikova
Krejcikova is responsible for Sabalenka's lone loss of the season -- the Czech defeated Sabalenka in the Dubai quarterfinals en route to the title at the year's first WTA 1000 event.
But this time, Sabalenka was able to grit through another three-set tussle with Krejcikova, avenging that Dubai loss and improving to 3-1 in their head-to-head.
Krejcikova nearly extended the match to a greater degree, holding a break point in the last game of the encounter, but Sabalenka erased that chance with an ace before closing out the clash two points later with a forehand winner.
"It's always tough matches against Barbora," Sabalenka said after her victory. "She played unbelievable tennis. I'm just super happy with this win."
Quarterfinal showdown: Gauff brings a 3-1 head-to-head lead over Sabalenka into the upcoming quarterfinal. In their most recent meeting, Gauff edged Sabalenka in a third-set tiebreak in Toronto last year.