No.6 seed Coco Gauff got the better of fellow teenager Mirra Andreeva for the second time in a Grand Slam this year, winning 6-3, 6-2 in 76 minutes with a near-flawless performance to reach the third round of the US Open.
Gauff, 19, had previously defeated 16-year-old Andreeva 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-1 in the third round of Roland Garros on the latter's Grand Slam debut. The pair are two of the four highest-ranked teenagers on the WTA rankings, with No.63-ranked Andreeva behind only Gauff and two Czech 18-year-olds, Linda Noskova and Linda Fruhvirtova -- the latter of whom she is guaranteed to overtake after the US Open.
The result puts Gauff into the third round at Flushing Meadows for the third time in five appearances, and for the third time in a major this year. A champion in Cincinnati two weeks ago, she extends her winning streak to seven matches, the third-longest at tour level of her career so far.
SHEESH! 😯— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 30, 2023
How many different shots did Coco Gauff hit in this rally?! pic.twitter.com/JRHQrUzayR
How the match was won: Andreeva raced out of the blocks, firing her backhand and targeting the Gauff forehand for an immediate break. But her advantage didn't last long as Gauff responded by raising her level impressively.
The Washington and Cincinnati champion stamped her authority on the match by winning the next four games with an immaculate blend of defense and offense. Gauff came to net with alacrity, slamming a drive volley away to break for 3-1; she was also adept at stymying Andreeva's attack, retrieving multiple smashes before eliciting an error from the younger player to move up 4-1.
In total, Gauff found 24 winners to Andreeva's seven, won 15 of her 18 net points and converted four of five break points. The improvements to her forehand were evident on several occasions, particularly in the second set when she slammed a stellar inside-in winner off a tricky deep lob from her opponent.
Though Andreeva battled hard to keep on Gauff's heels and engaged in several riveting extended rallies, she was unable to find a finishing shot that could get past the American, whose footspeed enabled her to track down even the finest of Andreeva's drop shots.
Comeback complete. ✅— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 30, 2023
Elise Mertens wins the final two sets to punch her ticket to Round 3. pic.twitter.com/dIFkppeEpS
Mertens saves match points in second straight round: Gauff's third-round opponent will be No.32 seed Elise Mertens, who saved two match points in the second-set tiebreak before quelling Danielle Collins 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-1 in 2 hours and 45 minutes.
The Belgian had also saved three match points in her 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 first-round win over Mirjam Bjorklund, and advances to the third round of a Grand Slam for the 21st time in her career. In total, Mertens' record in the first two rounds of majors now stands at 43-5.
Mertens is the second player to win from match point down twice in the same tournament this year. In Lausanne, Elisabetta Cocciaretto saved one match point in both her first round against Celine Naef and her semifinal against Anna Bondar en route to her maiden title. Including qualifying, Linda Noskova saved one match point in both her first Adelaide qualifying round against Anna Kalinskaya, and in the quarterfinals against Victoria Azarenka. In Palermo, Mia Ristic saved match points in both of her qualifying rounds -- two against Cagla Buyukakcay, then three against Kathinka Von Deichmann.
The last player to save match points down in consecutive tour-level main-draw matches was Leylah Fernandez, who staved off five championship points to win the 2022 Monterrey final over Camila Osorio before saving four against Amanda Anisimova in her Indian Wells opener. The last player to do so in the same tournament was Viktoria Hruncakova (née Kuzmova), who saved one match point to defeat Kiki Bertens in the second round of Dubai 2019, and followed that by saving three to defeat Sofia Kenin in the third round.
Gauff has won both of her previous meetings against Mertens, 0-6, 7-6(4), 7-5 at Eastbourne 2021 and 6-4, 6-0 at Roland Garros 2022.