BEIJING — Top-ranked Aryna Sabalenka and U.S. Open champion Coco Gauff navigated tricky second-round opponents to advance at the China Open on Tuesday.
Sabalenka, making her debut at No. 1 in Beijing, came from a break down in each set to see off qualifier Katie Boulter 7-5, 7-6 (2).
“In the key moments I played a little bit better than her," said Sabalenka, who will play 36th-ranked Jasmine Paolini in the last 16. "I think it was all about the last games in each set. I mean, she had the opportunity. I’m super happy that I didn’t give her easily those sets.”
The third-ranked Gauff had to rally from a break down in the deciding set to defeat Petra Martic 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (2). The 48th-ranked Martic served for the match after breaking Gauff for a 5-4 lead, but the American broke back and then dominated the tiebreaker.
Fourth-seeded Jessica Pegula came from a set down to beat 39th-ranked Anna Blinkova 6-7 (2), 6-2, 6-1 in just over two hours. The American, who was a finalist at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo on Saturday, will play 13th-seeded Julia Ostapenko next.
In other second-round matches, Marta Kostyuk ousted seventh-seeded Ons Jabeur 7-6 (5), 6-1, ninth-seeded Caroline Garcia beat Yulia Putintseva 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 and China’s Wang Xinyu beat 11th-seeded Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 6-2.
The men's semifinals take place later Tuesday with second-ranked Carlos Alcaraz facing sixth-seeded Jannik Sinner.
Third-ranked Daniil Medvedev meets eighth-seeded Alexander Zverev in the other semifinal.