Coco Gauff defeats Marta Kostyuk to reach her first Australian Open semi-final

By Sports Desk January 23, 2024

Coco Gauff came through a three-hour battle with Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open for the first time.

The US Open champion had cruised through to the last eight but was pushed very hard by first-time grand slam quarter-finalist Kostyuk before clinching a 7-6 (6) 6-7 (3) 6-2 victory after three hours and eight minutes.

Gauff trailed 5-1 in the opening set before fighting back to win it, saving two set points.

She served for the match at 5-3 in the second set but now it was Kostyuk’s turn to surge back, and it was not until the third set that Gauff took control of the match, opening up a 5-0 lead.

The 19-year-old is the youngest American to reach the women’s semi-finals in Melbourne since Mary Joe Fernandez back in 1991, and she is now two wins away from making it back-to-back slam titles.

If she is to achieve that, she will surely need to play at a consistently higher level than here, with the pair making a combined 107 unforced errors.

“It was a fight,” said Gauff. “I think today was definitely a C game, so I didn’t play my best tennis, but I’m really proud that I was able to get through today’s match. Hopefully got the bad match out of the way and I can play even better.”

Kostyuk, 21, was immediately able to put the result into perspective, saying: “I think it’s just a tennis match. I’m here to grow, to learn, to be better.

“I’m very proud of myself. I won for myself today, and I think it’s the most important thing. It’s just the beginning of the season. I’m looking forward for what’s ahead.”

Kostyuk and countrywoman Dayana Yastremska both made the last eight – Yastremska may yet go further – while Elina Svitolina reached the fourth round, and all have used the opportunity to highlight the ongoing plight of Ukraine.

“I think the girls did really well,” said Kostyuk. “I hope we will be able to succeed in most of the tournaments, especially the big ones where there is a lot of media. I think people should be reminded.

“I was texting with some people from Kyiv. I said, ‘How is it? How are you guys?’ They said, ‘Well, we were looking between your score and where the missiles are flying. So it’s still there. My parents are still there. My sister is still there.”

Related items

  • Raducanu cruises into Nottingham Open quarter-finals after dominant Snigur win Raducanu cruises into Nottingham Open quarter-finals after dominant Snigur win

    Emma Raducanu cruised into the quarter-finals of the Nottingham Open with a straight-sets victory over Daria Snigur on Thursday.

    After making her return from injury in the previous round, Raducanu made light work of the match, winning 6-2, 6-2 as her preparation for Wimbledon continued.

    Despite a bright start from Snigur, which saw her break the Briton's serve in the opening game, she could not hold off Raducanu's challenge as she reeled off six games in a row to win the first set.

    With her confidence back, Raducanu secured two breaks in the second set to ease through and will face Francesca Jones or Ashlyn Krueger in the next round.

    Data Debrief: Raducanu easing back to full threat

    After a slightly shaky first round against Ena Shibahara, Raducanu looked a confident figure on the court as she dispatched Snigur.

    Her serve proved a highlight as she served 11 aces in the second set, and had a 70 per cent win rate on her first serve throughout the match.

  • Top seed Pegula out of Libema Open as De Minaur progresses Top seed Pegula out of Libema Open as De Minaur progresses

    Top seed Jessica Pegula bowed out of the Libema Open following a three-set defeat by Aleksandra Krunic in s'Hertogenbosch.

    The world number five was ousted 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 by the 2018 winner of this event, who claimed the fifth top-10 victory of her career and advanced to the quarter-finals.

    Now ranked 400th in the world, Krunic recovered from an earlier break in the opening set to force a tie-break, in which she won five straight points to draw first blood.

    The Serbian also cancelled out a break before heading into another tie-break, but Pegula reeled off five points on the spin this time to level.

    The American was appearing in her first tournament since April, having missed the European clay-court season with a rib injury.

    However, she saw two break-point opportunities go begging in the opening game of the deciding set, and Krunic crucially broke in game three before holding out for an impressive victory. 

    Later on, Alex de Minaur booked his place in the quarter-finals of the competition after a straight-sets victory over Zizou Bergs. 

    The world number nine had to work for his victory over the Belgian, overcoming his opponent 7-5 6-4 to earn his first triumph on a grass court this year. 

    Bergs matched his opponent in the opening exchanges, but the Australian would eventually prevail, winning a break-point and following up without dropping a point in the final game. 

    De Minaur would again endure a difficult set to confirm the victory as Bergs threatened to level the encounter, but the number one seed again showed his class, finishing the contest in style. 

    De Minaur will face either Roberto Bautista Agut or Milos Raonic in the next round.

    Data Debrief: Krunic rekindles special memories as de Minaur earns maiden grass win

    Krunic will forever have an affinity with s-Hertogenbosch, where she won her only career WTA title six years ago.

    And the 31-year-old claimed an impressive scalp here to reach her first WTA quarter-final since 2022 - and first on grass since that 2018 triumph.

    De Minaur impressed once again, winning 86 per cent of his first serve points against the Belgian. 

    Their meeting in s-Hertogenbosch was the first between the pair, with De Minaur able to overcome his quarter-final defeat to Alexander Zverev at the French Open. 

  • Nadal confirms Wimbledon absence to focus on Olympics Nadal confirms Wimbledon absence to focus on Olympics

    Rafael Nadal confirmed he will miss Wimbledon in order to focus on competing at his "last Olympics" in Paris.

    The Royal Spanish Tennis Federation confirmed on Wednesday the 22-time major winner will feature in the men's singles and men's doubles events, which will be played on the clay courts of Roland-Garros.

    Nadal, who will partner Carlos Alcaraz in the doubles, played what was expected to be his final French Open campaign last month, where he said he was unlikely to play at Wimbledon following his first-round exit to Alexander Zverev.

    And the 38-year-old confirmed his decision on his social media channels, opting to continue his preparations on clay rather than switching from grass at the All England Club, where he is a two-time champion.

    "It was announced yesterday that I will play at the Summer Olympics in Paris, my last Olympics," said Nadal, who will prepare for the Olympics by entering the ATP 250 event in Bastad earlier in July.

    "With this goal, we believe that the best thing for my body is not to change surfaces, and to keep playing on clay until then. It's for this reason that I will miss playing at the Championships this year at Wimbledon.

    "I am saddened not to be able to live this year the great atmosphere of that amazing event that will always be in my heart, and be with all the British fans that always gave me great support. I will miss you all."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.