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Gauff happy with ‘mental fight’ after surviving scare at Indian Wells

Coco Gauff overcame a 5-2 third-set deficit against unseeded Clara Burel to emerge with hard-fought 2-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4) victory and reach the third round at Indian Wells.

Gauff looked to be heading out when she went a set and a break down but rallied and triumphed in a deciding set tie-break.

The third-seeded American teenager came out tight, spraying errors around the court and double faulting on two break points in a poor first set that Burel wrapped up with an unreturnable serve.

But US Open champion Gauff stepped up her serving in the second set and moved into the court to take time away from her opponent, using her speed to race down a drop shot and level the contest at a set apiece.

The Frenchwoman refused to go away under sunny skies in the California desert, however, breaking for a 2-0 lead when Gauff’s forehand sailed long.

Gauff wasted two break points in the next game and was broken again as Burel suddenly found herself leading 4-0 in the third.

Serving for the match up 5-3, it was 44th-ranked Burel’s turn to tighten up and Gauff pounced on her short balls and tentative serves.

Gauff stayed aggressive in the tiebreaker, sealing the win after a long rally ended with Burel misfiring wide to the delight of the crowd on centre court.

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Coco Gauff believes she didn’t play her best tennis against Clara Burel but was happy with the result as she became the first teenager with the most WTA 1000 wins

“I’m happy with the mental fight,” Gauff said. “It wasn’t my best tennis but it’s not about how you show up on your good days, it’s how you show up on your bad ones and I’m happy with how I showed up today.”

Gauff will face Lucia Bronzetti in the third round after the Italian beat Anhelina Kalinina 6-3 6-4.

Gauff’s mindset

Claiming victory over Clara Burel at Indian Wells, Gauff now holds a career record of 7-1 in third-set tie-breaks, with her only loss coming to Aryna Sabalenka as a 16-year-old – Ostrava R16 2020

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