Coco Gauff advanced to the semifinals of the WTA Finals with a hard-fought victory over Wimbledon champion Markéta Vondroušová on Friday, despite conceding 17 double faults during the match.
The 19-year-old completed an impressive comeback to defeat Vondrousova 5-7 6-7 (7-4) 6-3 and became the first teenager to reach the last four of the tournament since Caroline Wozniacki in 2009, setting up an all-American showdown against her doubles partner Jessica Pegula.
The Czech had the better of the early exchanges and engineered herself into a match-winning position, serving for victory in the second set, but Gauff held her nerve and sent the set into a tiebreak.
“I felt like I needed to hit through the court,” Gauff said afterwards, according to Sky Sports. “She’s a very tricky player. When you play her pace and let her move you side to side, it’s tough. And I played her, it’s my third time, so I know that.”
Windy and rainy conditions in Cancún, Mexico forced several delays in play and influenced Gauff’s strategy too, she said afterwards.
“In the wind, it’s tough to be as aggressive as you want, because the bounces are weird and the ball was moving,” she said. “So I’m glad I made that adjustment and didn’t get too frustrated when I missed. You pay the price for hopefully a good reward.”
Victory ensured that the current US Open champion became the first American teenager to tally more than 50 wins in a single season since Venus Williams in 1999, according to the WTA.
Meanwhile, Aryna Sabalenka also advanced to the semifinals of the tournament on Friday with a 6-2 3-6 6-3 win over Elena Rybakina after a match that was halted the day before because of a rain delay.
If the Belarusian defeats Iga Świątek in their semifinal, she will secure the year-end world No. 1 ranking.
Świątek secured her semifinal spot by defeating Ons Jabeur 6-1 6-2 while Pegula won all three of her matches in the round-robin group stages to set up a showdown against Gauff.