Coco Gauff survived a match that lasted nearly three hours on Wednesday to upset second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-4 and advance to the quarterfinals at The Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky.
Both players struggled with their serves in the first tournament in the U.S. since the hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with a combined 19 double faults (11 by Sabalenka) and 14 breaks of service (seven each).
Gauff rallied from a break down in the first set, then blew a 5-3 lead by being broken in back-to-back service games. But Gauff broke right back to force a tiebreaker, where she stormed out to a 5-0 lead before wrapping it up.
Gauff hung on temporarily late in the second set but then dropped it on her own serve. In the third, Sabalenka rallied from a break down to even it twice, but Gauff broke again at 4-4 and served out to win in 2 hours, 48 minutes.
Sixth-seeded Magda Linette of Poland also fell to an American, as Jennifer Brady cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 victory in just 68 minutes.
In other matches Wednesday, No. 8 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia overcame a rough start to beat Olga Govortsova of Belarus 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, and the Czech Republic's Marie Bouzkova downed Russia's Anna Blinkova 6-4, 6-2.
Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic upset second-seeded Petra Martic (Croatia) 6-1, 7-5 to advance to the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Pliskova, ranked 69th, picked up her first win over her 14th-ranked opponent. Pliskova will face Ana Bogdan of Romania in the next round. Bogdan advanced Wednesday after Lesia Tsurenko (Ukraine) withdrew.
In Wednesday's other singles match, third-seed Elise Mertens of Belgium beat Camila Giorgi (Italy) 6-4, 6-2 and will play either Tamara Zidansek or Eugenie Bouchard in the quarterfinals.
--Field Level Media