American teenager Coco Gauff admitted that she needs to “change her mentality” after a error-strewn defeat to Anastasia Potapova at the Miami Open.
The 19-year-old from Florida let a big lead slip away and then dropped the last five games in a 6-7, 7-5, 6-2 loss on Saturday.
Gauff felt she played too defensively after serving for the victory at 5-3 in the second set.
“That’s kind of been where I’ve been messing up in all my matches this year,” the 2022 French Open runner-up said. “All the ones I’ve lost I think I lost because of that. I think it should be more used as a tool in a toolbox than as a weapon.
“I have to change my mentality in the game about not relying on that too much because I think sometimes I play a little bit too passive because I know I can get to balls.”
The two hour, 41 minute match in the early afternoon heat ebbed and flowed before Potapova took a firm grip in the third set.
The 27th seeded Russian led 5-2 in the first set but Gauff fought back to win the tie-break after Potapova went wide with a poor shot on set-point.
Gauff looked to have the momentum and served for the match at 5-3 up in the second set but with nothing to lose, Potapova changed gears and her free-swinging approach paid off with her winning the next four games.
After a 10 minute heat break, Potapova returned looking fresh and confident but Gauff was struggling to refind her rhythm and after Potapova, ranked 26th, broke in the fifth game the outcome never looked in doubt.
The win was Potapova's third career victory against a top 10 opponent and her first against Gauff after two losses.
“I think I just let it go, and I started to focus on my tennis and going for my shots and not thinking what she is going to do,” Potapova said of her turnaround performance.
Indian Wells champion Elena Rybakina earned a hard-fought comeback win against Spain's Paula Badosa.
Rybakina rallied from a set down to sink Badosa 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. She extended her winning streak to 10 matches as she kept on course to claim the Miami-Indian Wells “Sunshine Double”.
The Kazakh struggled in the first set with Badosa breaking her serve four times and although she got her game together in the second set, she found herself 5-4 down and facing match point.
That proved to the momentum swing in the contest as Rybakina held serve and then broke the Spaniard to see out the set and she was in full charge of the third set.
“It didn't start well in the first set but in the end I just found some energy,” said Rybakina.
“It was a really tough battle. I was trying to focus on every point because the first set didn't go my way, but it was just a few mistakes here and there. Overall, I played well.”
Former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko defeated 13th seed Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia to reach the fourth round with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win.