Cori Gauff says beating Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina and sixth-ranked Aryna Sabalenka in back-to-back matches is giving her confidence that she can go and win a Grand Slam. On Wednesday, Gauff edged out Wimbledon champion Rybakina 6-4 6-7 (8) 7-6 (3) in the National Bank Open second round in Toronto.
The following day, Gauff outlasted Sabalenka 7-5 4-6 7-6 (4) in the National Bank Open last-16. Those two wins weren’t pretty as Gauff had to fight extremely hard in order to end on the winning side . But that may be exactly what she needs ahead of the US Open.
“It definitely gives me a lot of confidence because I know I can tough it out in those tough moments. These are the type of players that I need to have to beat if I want to win a Grand Slam. So these matches are giving me more confidence.
And I know how it feels in those moments against these players. They’re not going to give you anything and you shouldn’t expect that,” Gauff said, per the WTA website.
Gauff survived the Sabalenka challenge
After winning a tight first set, Gauff started the second set with back-to-back breaks and a 3-0 lead.
Up by a set and two breaks, the win appeared to be sealed for Gauff. Then Sabalenka won seven of the next eight games to force a third set and take a 3-0 lead in it. Just when it seemed Sabalenka would clinch a stunning comeback victory, Gauff recovered and clinched victory via a final set tie-break.
“Pretty much from 3-0 up in the second to [3-0 down in the third set]I was reverting back to old mentalities,” Gauff said. “And I said if I was going to lose, I’m not going to lose like this. So I had to change. And that’s what I did.”