Tennis: Top seed Coco Gauff marches into ASB Classic semi-final as third seed Leylah Fernandez suffers straight sets defeat

Top seed Coco Gauff advanced to the semi-finals of the ASB Classic, while third seed Leylah Fernandez was handed an early exit as play continued at Auckland's ASB Tennis Centre.

As rain again forced play inside, it took Gauff just over an hour and a quarter to secure a straight sets victory over China's Lin Zhu, winning 6-3, 6-2.

The tournament's leading contender broke serve three times on her way to victory, and comfortably reached the final four in her hunt for a first singles title since May 2021.

Gauff will face tournament seventh seed, Danka Kovinic, in the semi-final, who wrapped up an equally impressive victory in her quarter-final.

Montenegro's Kovinic needed only 70 minutes for a straight sets victory of her own, defeating Slovakia's Viktoria Kuzmova 6-3, 6-2.

The 28-year-old hit eight aces in her victory, and broke Kuzmova's serve three times.

Victory over Gauff would put Kovinic into the final to challenge for her maiden WTA title, with three runner-up finishes so far in her career. 

Meanwhile, in the day's third match, third seed Fernandez was stunned by unseeded Ysaline Bonaventure, in another straight-sets win.

A day after the exit of second-seed Sloane Stephens, fellow contender Fernandez followed suit to leave Gauff and Kovinic as the two highest-ranked players left in the tournament.

Belgium's Bonaventure, 28, broke serve four times in the match which lasted 69 minutes to reach the semi-finals.

Bonaventure will face Spain's Rebeka Masarova in the second semi-final, after her victory over Karolina Muchova of Czech Republic.

While Masarova was able to win in straight sets, both went to tiebreak, as the Spaniard held her nerve for a 7-6, 7-6 win in a match that lasted more than two hours.

Masarova last title victory, coming in Hamburg, came with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Bonaventure, who now has the chance for revenge when the pair meet on Saturday (NZ time).