Indian Wells: Aryna Sabalenka upset, birthday girl Coco Gauff clinches dominant win

Sabalenka exits Indian Wells, while Gauff safely progresses into the quarterfinal.

by Dzevad Mesic
Indian Wells: Aryna Sabalenka upset, birthday girl Coco Gauff clinches dominant win
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka is out of Indian Wells in the round-of-16 following a surprise loss to Emma Navarro, while birthday girl Coco Gauff routinely sealed a quarterfinal ticket in the desert. 

Sabalenka, who finished as runner-up in Indian Wells last year, saw her campaign in Indian Wells end way earlier this year after world No. 23 Navarro handed her a 6-3 3-6 6-2 defeat. 

Aryna Sabalenka
Aryna Sabalenka© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

For 22-year-old Navarro - who has been having a breakthrough season on the Tour in 2024 - this is just yet another great result after winning her first WTA title earlier this year and currently enjoying her career-high ranking of No. 23 in the world. 

After Sabalenka exited Indian Wells, third-seeded Gauff didn't allow the same to happen to her as she didn't have any problems sealing a 6-0 6-2 win over world No. 28 Elise Mertens. 

On Wednesday, Gauff's teenage years officially ended as the American is now 20 years old. For Gauff, starting her 20s with a dominant win was certainly a great way to start this phase of her career.

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman

How Navarro beat Sabalenka?

Through the first seven games, not a single break point was seen but then Navarro earned the first break point and also the first break in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead. In the following game, Navarro faced a break point but saved it before realizing her first set point to win the opener.

Sabalenka bounced back at the start of the second set, earning her first break in the fourth game and then holding to her serve for the remainder of the set to force a decider.

Just when it seemed that the momentum was on Sabalenka's side, Navarro showed great mental strength and started the third set with a 2-0 lead. Sabalenka managed to get the break back in the third game but it didn't impact Navarro, who broke the Belarusian again in the fourth and eighth games to complete her three-set win and set up a quarterfinal against either Maria Sakkari or Diane Parry. 

Aryna Sabalenka and Emma Navarro
Aryna Sabalenka and Emma Navarro© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

How Gauff beat Mertens?

Home favorite Gauff came out absolutely firing against Mertens, breaking the No. 24 seed three times and not losing any of her service games to bagel the Belgian in the first set. 

After winning the first set with a bagel, Gauff also started the second set with an early break and a 2-0 lead. But then, Mertens finally showed some signs of life as she got the break back in the third game and then also saved a break point in the fourth game to tie the first set to two games apiece.

However, Gauff quickly and impressively overcame a small collapse, responding by winning the next four games to complete her dominant two-set win over Mertens.

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman

For a place in the Indian Wells semifinal, Gauff will play against the winner of the match between Daria Kasatkina and Yue Yuan. 

Indian Wells Aryna Sabalenka Coco Gauff