Two teenage prodigies met in the third round of the 2023 Roland Garros and both were determined to advance. With the withdrawal of Elena Rybakina from the competition, their theoretical path to the trophy became a bit easier and both players wanted to use their chances.
While Gauff played in the final of the tournament last year, it was the first-ever Roland Garros for Andreeva, who showed her ambition by stating she wants to win 25 Grand Slam trophies. Despite both players being teenagers, the American said that the age doesn't matter and it showed in the match.
It was the first meeting for the two on the WTA Tour and the first set was full of breaks. The Russian led 4-2 thanks to a break, and also her opponent was up 5-4 by one break, serving for the set.
But the teenagers couldn't use their chances and so the first set had to be decided in a tie-break. 16-year-old Andreeva stayed calmer in the important moments, winning the tie-break 7-5 to secure a one-set lead.
It was already the eleventh consecutive set won for the 16-year-old across the qualifying and the main draw at this year's Roland Garros, and if Gauff wanted to win the match, she needed to put an end to her streak.
And that's something that the 19-year-old American started doing immediately as the second set started. She didn't allow her opponent to have break points, while she used two of her four chances and won the second set 6-1.
Andreeva had to find her A-game again if she wanted to compete in the third set, but the sixth seed didn't allow that. Gauff was superb on her serve in the third set and all-around, she seemed to be flawless.
The 19-year-old lost only one point on her serve in the decider, while she hit 13 winners and made only 4 unforced errors, something that seems almost impossible with slow Roland Garros balls.
Moreover, she had break points in every one of her opponent's service games, and even though she couldn't use her two chances in the opening game of the third set, she converted three of the following four break points and after two hours and five minutes, Gauff won the match 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-1 to advance to the fourth round of the 2023 Roland Garros.
In the next round, the American will play against one of the unseeded opponents. It will be either world no. 100 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova from Slovakia or her fellow compatriot, world no. 138 Kayla Day.
With the fourth-round win, Gauff could set up a quarterfinal clash that would be a rematch of last year's Roland Garros final since Iga Swiatek destroyed yet another opponent, this time without losing a single game, winning 6-0, 6-0, and also made it to the fourth round. The American had also nice words for her young opponent after the match.
"Mirra is super youngand& there’s a big future for her. I remember I was here playing at 16 years old. She has a lot to look forward to. You guys will hopefully see many more matches between the two of us. I didn’t know she was on my side of the draw because she came through qualies. But I was impressed with her level and I knew today wasn’t going to be an easy match. She proved she belongs to be where she is and belongs to go even further."