No.3 seed Coco Gauff won a main-draw match at the Mubadala Citi DC Open for the first time in her career on Wednesday, besting Washington D.C. native Hailey Baptiste 6-1, 6-4 in their second-round clash.
In the first singles meeting between the two young Americans, World No.7 Gauff ousted 204th-ranked Baptiste at the qualifier’s hometown event after 1 hour and 17 minutes of play.
“Playing Hailey, a friend, known her for a long time,” Gauff said after her win. “It was really cool to play her in front of her hometown, and hopefully we have many more battles in the future.
“We practiced together so many times. Camps together. We even shared a room together in Palm Springs for, like, three weeks or two weeks. We were roommates. Yeah, we know each other very well.”
D.C. breakthrough: Gauff’s only previous appearance at Washington came in 2019, where she qualified for the main draw but lost to Zarina Diyas in the first round. However, Gauff did end that week with a trophy, when she won her first WTA doubles title alongside Caty McNally.
Now, Gauff has a singles main-draw match-win in D.C. under her belt as well. On Wednesday evening on Stadium Court, 19-year-old Gauff never dropped serve, and she won over half of the points returning 21-year-old Baptiste’s second serves.
Gauff, the 2022 Roland Garros finalist, had to stare down three break points in her second service game of the match. But after getting out of that jam, Gauff cruised through the rest of her service games in that set behind sturdy deliveries.
In the much closer second set, Gauff took control by prevailing in a five-deuce game to break for a 4-3 lead. Gauff eased to victory from there, converting her first match point with her fifth ace of the day.
Rising talent: Baptiste, who upset Madison Keys in her WTA main-draw debut at this event in 2019, fell to 0-3 against Top 10 players in her career.
However, Baptiste can still look back on a splendid week on her home turf, where she notched two Top 50 wins — a first-round main-draw victory over former World No.1 Karolina Pliskova, as well as a win over Alycia Parks in qualifying.
Gauff to face Bencic: Gauff’s next match will be a quarterfinal encounter against No.6 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland. 2021 Olympic gold medalist Bencic beat another American qualifier, Lauren Davis, earlier on Wednesday in straight sets.
In their only prior meeting, Bencic defeated Gauff 7-6(2), 6-7(4), 6-2 in the Adelaide semifinals in February of 2021.