September 4, 2023

‘Our work is not done’: Gilgeous-Alexander and Canada keeping focus on quarter-finals

Arash Madani talks with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander after leading the way in Candaa’s comeback win vs. Spain and ensuring they stay focused for the upcoming quarter-finals against Slovenia after securing a spot in Paris for the Olympics in 2024.

NEW YORK (AP) — Coco Gauff is the first American teen since Serena Williams more than two decades ago to reach the U.S. Open quarterfinals two years in a row, so the 19-year-old from Florida knows her way out of trouble on a tennis court.

As the second set slipped away against Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round Sunday at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Gauff needed a chance to think things through after handing over a break with a pair of double-faults and a stumble that left her doing the splits.

So Gauff turned in the direction of the near-constant chatter coming from Brad Gilbert, one of her two coaches sitting in a front-row seat, and said, “Please stop.” A couple of minutes later, Gauff said, “Stop talking.”

That was while Wozniacki was grabbing four consecutive games to go up a break in the third set. And then, just as the match seemed to be slipping away thanks in part to a slew of unforced errors, Gauff straightened out her strokes and pulled way. She collected the last six games for a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory over Wozniacki, the 33-year-old mother of two who recently came out of retirement.

“I was getting frustrated. It wasn’t really directed at him. It was just that I needed to reset,” the sixth-seeded Gauff said. “In that moment, I just didn’t want to hear anything. I just wanted to think about what I was doing.”

Her next opponent will be No. 20 seed Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion. Ostapenko beat defending champion Iga Swiatek 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 on Sunday night, after 23-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic picked up a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 victory over qualifier Borna Gojo.

Djokovic faces No. 9 Taylor Fritz of the U.S. on Tuesday. It’ll be Djokovic’s 13th quarterfinal at Flushing Meadows, and Fritz’s first.

Gauff, whose best showing at a major was reaching the final at the 2022 French Open before losing to Swiatek, has now won 15 of her past 16 matches.

That run follows a first-round exit at Wimbledon in July and includes the two biggest titles of her career, at the DC Open and in Cincinnati. It also coincides with the additions of Pere Riba as her full-time coach and Gilbert in a role that’s been described as a temporary consultant.

TV microphones have been picking up Gilbert repeatedly offering his thoughts to Gauff during matches over the past week.

Against Wozniacki, the 2018 Australian Open champion and twice the runner-up in New York, Gauff was trying to find the right balance between being the aggressor

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