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Potapova upsets Gauff in third-round Miami thriller


:Russian Anastasia Potapova produced some of her best tennis to upset American Coco Gauff 6-7(8) 7-5 6-2 in a third-round thriller at the Miami Open on Saturday.

Potapova, seeded 27th, mounted a stout defence to fend off 10 of 13 break points and grinned widely as she fired down an unreturnable serve to secure the win and set up a meeting with China’s Zheng Qinwen.

“I had this belief in me that I can do this, that I just wanted to fight through and just to show my best tennis and not focus on the score,” she told the Tennis Channel.

“It doesn’t matter what the score is, you just try to show your best and that’s what I did.”

Up 5-2 in the first set, it looked as though it might be an easy day for Potapova. But world number six Gauff turned the tables when she converted break point chances in the ninth and 11th games and closed the tiebreak with a lethal backhand.

Potapova regained her composure in the second set and pummelled her opponent with her mighty forehand as she broke serve in the penultimate game.

Gauff reached the quarter-final at Indian Wells earlier this month but could not find her spark in the third set.

She failed to earn a single break point as Potapova dropped only one first-serve point and won the final five games.

“In the third set I felt (in control) a lot,” said Potapova, who triumphed in Linz last month.

Canadian fifth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime unleashed a dozen aces to edge out Brazilian Thiago Monteiro 7-6(5) 7-6(8) and set up a third-round meeting with last year’s semi-finalist Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina.

“That’s the longest I’ve ever played two sets, definitely,” Auger-Aliassime said after the two hour, 40 minute match.

“It was definitely a tough one, he made me work for it.”

World number three Jessica Pegula made quick work of her fellow American Danielle Collins 6-1 7-6(0). She will meet Polish 20th seed Magda Linette for a place in the quarter-finals.

Earlier, the home fans leapt to their feet as 55th-ranked American Mackenzie McDonald survived a barrage of aces to upset Italian 19th seed Matteo Berrettini 7-6(8) 7-6(5). He will next face France’s Quentin Halys.

Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina faces Spain’s Paula Badosa later on Saturday as she hopes to keep her bid for a “Sunshine Double” on track, while Russian Daniil Medvedev plays Roberto Carballes Baena.

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