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Coco Gauff into Auckland Classic semi-final; Elena Rybakina, Victoria Azarenka through in Brisbane

By primenewsghana
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US Open champion Coco Gauff brushed aside Varvara Gracheva to reach the Auckland Classic semi-finals as she builds toward the Australian Open.

It took Gauff, 19, just 52 minutes to seal a 6-1 6-1 quarter-final win and set up a last-four meeting with fellow American Emma Navarro.

The Australian Open gets under way in Melbourne on 14 January.

Meanwhile, Briton Harriet Dart has reached the biggest final of her career at the Canberra International.

Dart, 27, beat American Katie Volynets 7-5 3-6 7-5 in the WTA 125 series tournament, which is the rung immediately below the full WTA Tour.

The British number three faces Spain's Nuria Parrizas Diaz in Saturday's final and then heads to Melbourne where Australian Open qualifying begins on Monday.

Victory would put Dart on the brink of a return to the top 100.

Gauff has never been beyond the fourth round at the Australian Open, reaching that stage in 2023 and 2020, but the signs look positive for her as she looks to defend the Auckland Classic title.

"I thought I served really well, probably the best so far in the tournament, which is something I've been working on off-season. I'm really happy with how I played," Gauff said.

Elsewhere, world number four Elena Rybakina and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka are through to the semi-finals of the Brisbane International.

Kazakhstan's Rybakina will meet Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic after quarter-final opponent Anastasia Potapova retired at the end of the first set with a stomach problem.

Belarusian Azarenka, who won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013, took two hours and 30 minutes to see off third-seeded Latvian Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 3-6 7-5.