Coco Gauff pulled off an impressive comeback to kick off her 2024 clay-court campaign, roaring back from the brink of defeat to survive Sachia Vickery, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.

Vickery appeared on course to earn her second career Top 10 victory when she got within five points of upsetting the reigning US Open champion, but Gauff, competing for the first time since the Miami Open in March, shaking off 49 unforced errors to reel off 12 of the final 14 points and edge over the finish line in two hours and 26 minutes on Stuttgart’s Center Court.

Indeed, Vickery’s lone Top 10 win came against then-world No. 3 Garbiñe Muguruza at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open, and as had been in the case at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the 28-year-old American was playing as a qualifier, having defeated higher-ranked Greet Minnen to reach the main draw followed by fellow qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich to book the round-of-16 clash with Gauff.

A former Roland Garros finalist, the reigning US Open champion was playing her first match on any surface since her home tournament ended at the hands of Caroline Garcia at the Hard Rock Stadium. The 20-year-old was playing in Stuttgart for the third time, her best result coming last April, when she reached the second round but lost to Anastasia Potapova.


Still, Gauff had the upper hand on Vickery, who peaked at No. 73 in the rankings back in 2018, as the match got underway, racing through the first three games and holding off a late surge to serve out the opening set after saving five break points in a marathon ninth game.

Vickery nonetheless carried that late momentum into the second set, taking a 4-2 lead of her own and shook off a love-break when serving to force a decider to break straight back, shocking the Stuttgart crowd.

More momentum shifts followed in the final set: Gauff won the first two games only to lose the next four. Vickery appeared on course to win a fifth when the world No. 3 showed signs of life, capitalizing on some slow serving from her compatriot to get the set back on serve.

A point from losing a third straight game, Vickery turned the tide back to her side when she saved a break point at 4-4 to force Gauff to serve to stay in the contest. Gauff responded with aplomb, reeling off eight straight points to find herself serving for a spot in the quarterfinals.

Shaking off a double fault, Gauff held firm to complete the comeback and book a quarterfinal clash against either No. 5 seed Zheng Qinwen or Marta Kostyuk, whom she faced in the last eight of the 2024 Australian Open in January.