Aryna Sabalenka crushes Gauff to book a spot in the Indian Wells semis

Reigning Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka needed just over an hour to defeat American Coco Gauff and reach the semi-finals at the Indian Wells. Second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka produced a dominant performance to put on a serving masterclass to crush the American teenager. The Belarusian star continued her spectacular run this season by outplaying No.6 seed Gauff in straight sets 6-4, 6-0, becoming the first player to reach the 2023 BNP Paribas Open semifinals.

Both Sabalenka and Gauff were playing in their first Indian Wells quarterfinal, and it was World No.2 Sabalenka who handled the game more successfully. Sabalenka, who won her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, improved her 2023 win-loss record to 16-1 with her 64-minute victory over the American. Gauff was the last American left in the women’s singles draw in the Californian desert.

The Australian Open champion never faced a break point and used her hard and accurate serve to dispatch Gauff. Sabalenka appeared to have put her past struggles with double faults firmly behind her, not committing a single one against Gauff, while pounding down five aces and winning 87% of her first serves. Gauff quickly fell 2-0 down in the first set and was unable to match Sabalenka’s level despite playing well.

The 24-year-old Belarusian kept her foot on the gas to dominate the second set despite the California crowd’s attempts to urge on the 19-year-old Gauff. Gauff had previously been a thorn in Sabalenka’s side, with the young American coming out on top in three of their four prior meetings.

But this time around, Sabalenka triumphed, hitting 18 winners to Gauff’s 12, also firing 14 fewer unforced errors than Gauff. Sabalenka is now one victory away from tying Caroline Garcia for the most WTA main-draw match-wins this season, with 17.

I knew you guys wanted to send me home, a smiling Sabalenka told the crowd in an on-court interview. I did not really think about our previous matches. I feel a little bit different on the court this year. Yeah, I was not really focusing on the last matches against her. I was focused on myself, Sabalenka admitted. Thank you everyone for coming and supporting us, mostly her, but us. The atmosphere was unbelievable. I do not want to leave. I want to stay here as long as I can, concluded Sabalenka.

The hard-hitting Sabalenka will next face either seventh-seeded Greek Maria Sakkari or 15th-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova.