Gauff Can Become New World No. 2 Following Sabalenka's Shock Miami Loss

Gauff Can Become New World No. 2 Following Sabalenka's Shock Miami Loss

by Nurein Ahmed

Coco Gauff is currently sitting at her best ranking of World No. 3, but she has a golden chance of reaching a new career-high mark by the end of this year's Miami Open.

Gauff's cause has been aided by Aryna Sabalenka's shock defeat at the tournament. The second-seeded Belarusian was ousted by Anhelina Kalinina in the third round, and her tempers boiled over at the end of the match when she broke her racket.

Sabalenka won this year's Australian Open in scintillating fashion, becoming just the fifth woman this century to lift the Melbourne Slam without the loss of a set. However, her form has taken a nosedive since leaving Melbourne.

She has played in three tournaments since and has not reached a single quarterfinal. Sabalenka has only registered back-to-back match wins in a single event (Indian Wells).

All three of Sabalenka's defeats after the Australian Open have been against players ranked outside the Top 20 (Emma Navarro only debuted in the Top 20 after Indian Wells).

The 25-year-old is still mourning the loss of her former boyfriend, Konstantin Koltsov, whose shocking death threw Sabalenka's participation at the event in limbo. Eventually, Saalenka bravely committed to play and addressed the tennis fraternity, saying that she was not in a relationship at the time of Koltsov's demise.

Sabalenka scored a very impressive win in the second round over Paula Badosa, but an error-strewn performance against Kalinina proved to be her own downfall. She now faces a major threat of losing the No. 2 ranking to Coco Gauff.

The 20-year-old American must win the title to replace Sabalenka in the top two. Gauff is still in the draw at the Miami Open and booked her spot in the fourth round with a fine performance in a 6-4, 6-0 win over French lucky loser Oceane Dodin. She will next face 23rd seed Caroline Garcia.


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