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Gauff reaches 2nd round in Linz thanks to lucky loser spot

LINZ, Austria (AP) — Coco Gauff took full advantage of a "lucky loser" spot at the Upper Austria Ladies, beating Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele, 6-3, 7-6 (3) Tuesday to reach the second round at the indoor tournament.

The American teenager lost in qualifying for the tournament — her first event since losing to Naomi Osaka in the third round of the U.S. Open — but was handed a place in the main draw when another player withdrew.

"It was very surprising because I was supposed to do a press thing today," Gauff said. "I had practiced earlier, went back to the hotel, and then got a phone call, and was back on court 40 minutes later."

Gauff had her major breakthrough at Wimbledon this year where she reached the fourth round, but this was her first career tour-level win indoors. She had a match point at 5-3 in the second set only for Voegele to win three straight games to set up a chance to serve out the second set. However, Gauff broke back and won the last six points of the tiebreaker to set up a meeting with Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine.

"I haven't looked too far ahead in the draw. I'm just going to keep playing my game and having fun," Gauff said. "Today was my lucky day, so I hope I continue to take that luck into whenever I play my second round."

The biggest upset of the day was German qualifier Anna-Lena Friedsam beating second-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, ousting the U.S. Open semifinalist 6-4, 2-6, 6-2. Fifth-seeded Julia Goerges advanced with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Margarita Gasparyan and No. 4 Donna Vekic cruised past Polona Hercog 6-1, 6-1.

More AP Tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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