Cori Gauff admitted she was "not settled at all" when she clinched three consecutive match points and praised Naomi Osaka for her fighting spirit and resilience. In the San Jose last-16, Gauff handed Osaka a 6-4 6-4 loss.
In the second set, Gauff had a 5-1 lead and three consecutive match points on Osaka's serve. Gauff missed out on three consecutive match points, but clinched one more match point in the same game again - which Osaka saved as well.
After saving four match points, Osaka got one break back in the eighth game and cut the deficit to 3-5. In the ninth game, Gauff had three more consecutive match points on Osaka's serve, but the Japanese saved to cut the deficit to 4-5.
Just when it seemed Osaka might fully get back into the second set, Gauff was able to serve out for the match.
Gauff: Osaka could have easily quit but she didn't
"At 5-1, 0-40 I was not settled at all," Gauff said, per the WTA website.
"It's very rare that someone comes back from 0-40 twice but it's Naomi. That just shows how much of a fight she has. She could have easily thrown in the towel but she didn't." A year ago in Cincinnati, Gauff was beaten in straight sets by Osaka.
Now, the head-to-head between the two stands at 2-2. "I think I improved in all aspects and today showed it," Gauff noted. "I knew playing Naomi was going to be tough. I think she has one of the best baseline games in the game.
When I play her I know that if she does win the match that's where she's going to get me, in those baseline rallies. I think today I really held my ground and winning a lot more of those rallies than she was. That just shows how much I'm improving. The last three weeks, so many hours on the court and I'm glad it's coming together."