French Open: Gauff downs Kanepi in clash of generations

Teenager Coco Gauff beats veteran Kaia Kanepi 6-3, 6-4 to reach the fourth round, to face Elise Mertens next.

Coco Gauff celebrates after her win on Friday.   -  Getty Images

Teenager Coco Gauff downed veteran Kaia Kanepi in a clash of the generations to reach the fourth round of the French Open with a 6-3, 6-4 victory on Friday.

The 18-year-old American, who was still a toddler when Estonian Kanepi, 36, played the first of two quarterfinals at Roland Garros in 2008, will next face Belgian 31st seed Elise Mertens.

“I knew it was going be a tough match. (She) beat (former champion Garbine) Murugza in the first round... I knew today would be close,” said Gauff, who achieved her best Grand Slam result when she made it to the quarterfinals here last year.

“I’ve been coming to France since I was 10 and trained at the Mouratoglou academy so I guess it makes me maybe not a claycourt expert, but not bad at it,” the youngest player still in the draw said.

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Kanepi, by contrast the oldest player left in the women’s singles, broke in the first game but Gauff struck back emphatically, winning the next five games with a flurry of winners on court Suzanne Lenglen. Kanepi pulled a break back for 5-2 and keep the 18th seed on her toes as she followed by holding her serve.

 

Gauff wrapped up the set in the next game when her opponent sent a backhand long.

Gauff advanced to 2-0 in the second set, before Kanepi, making the most of the American’s increasing number of unforced errors, turned the tables to take a 3-2 lead.

Kanepi’s hopes of a comeback were shortlived as she dropped serve again when she buried an easy backhand into the net after a poorly-executed drop shot from Gauff. Serving at 4-3, the teenager held and closed out the match on serve in the set’s 10th game when Kanepi made her 29th unforced error.

Belarusian Azarenka bundled out of French Open by 23rd seed Teichmann

Two-time Grand Slam champion Viktoria Azarenka slumped out of the French Open after Swiss 23rd seed Jil Teichmann battled from a set down to win 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(5) and secure a spot in the fourth round on Friday.

The Belarusian 32-year-old former world number one, seeded 15th in Paris, powered from 3-0 down at the start of the first set and then again from 4-3 behind to win the next three straight games to secure the opening set.

Azarenka looked to be cruising to a comfortable victory when she broke Teichmann to go 4-2 up in the second with her powerful baseline play and continuous drop shots dictating the game.

But in a reversal of the opening set, it was the 24-year-old Swiss left-hander's turn to battle back, mixing it up and clinching five of the next six games to force a decider.

Teichmann kept up the pressure and, after the pair traded two breaks each, won the tiebreak following more than three hours to reach a Grand Slam fourth round for the first time.

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