Aryna Sabalenka looks to keep her excellent 2023 going on Wednesday afternoon, hoping to earn her place in the Indian Wells semi finals. Coco Gauff will be the latest to have a crack at the Australian Open champion, who has lost just one match all year. With a 3-1 record in this matchup, the American may feel she has a chance of pulling off another big win.
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Sabalenka got her revenge against Barbora Krejcikova in the previous round, hitting 11 aces on her way to a 6-3 2-6 6-4 victory. The Czech offers a much different style to many of the elite players on the tour and it was a good effort by the second seed to figure it out on this occasion. Her new found calmness under pressure showed late on, when she served for the match. Down break point, she hit an ace and would go on to hold for the win.
Based on her fourth round performance, Gauff will need to raise her level dramatically if she wants to go any further. She needed three sets to beat Rebecca Peterson and was in trouble late in the 6-3 1-6 6-4 win. She won the last four games to advance with the 4-4 hold after three break points being what finally turned the match in her favour. “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.” she said.
Gauff is likely to run into the issue that has plagued her in many of her matchups against the best players on tour. The forehand is just too weak for a top player and is likely to break down under pressure when Sabalenka keeps targeting it, especially with the slow conditions producing much longer rallies.
Prediction – Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets
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