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Coco Gauff sends warning to rivals after Indian Wells birthday win and interview gaffe

Coco Gauff has sent a warning to her rivals at the 2024 Indian Wells Open by crushing Elise Mertens to reach the quarter-finals of the event on her 20th birthday on Wednesday.
The US Open champion destroyed the world No 28 with an impressive 6-0, 6-2 victory in the last 16 of the WTA 1000 tournament to continue her push for a second title at this level. Gauff lost just 10 points as she surged through the opening set without losing a game and a double bagel looked possible when she took a 2-0 second set lead. Mertens, though, broke the American to win her first game and levelled the second set at 2-2, but Gauff ran off the next four games as she cruised to the win in just an hour and seven minutes.



The dominant victory against the 28-year-old Belgian was the perfect way for the world No 3 to celebrate her 20th birthday as she reached her second quarter-final in Indian Wells, having made the same stage last year.
Gauff’s win came after world No 2 and Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka was upset in three sets by 22-year-old American Emma Navarro earlier on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old did then reflect on her triumph and her current level in an interview with former world No 4 Tim Henman for Sky Sports.
“I played really well today, best match of the tournament so far and obviously happy to get a win on my birthday,” the American said.



“Honestly, I felt like my best tennis that I played last year was during the Cincinnati and [Washington] DC — those two tournaments — so I guess I’ll compare it to that. I feel like I’m close to that level. Obviously when I’m playing like that, it’s very hard to beat me.
“And then US Open, I think I played well in moments, but especially that last match (the final against Sabalenka), I think it was just more of a mental win for me.” Gauff will face either Diane Parry or Maria Sakkari in the quarter-finals in Indian Wells.

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