Gauff gets past Jabeur in break-fest during first-round action

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Coco Gauff is through to the Rome second round after making surprisingly quick work of Ons Jabeur on Tuesday. Both players endured serving performances they will want to forget.

Coco Gauff has already made memories at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open. Only the French Open is left for her when it comes to finding success at the four Grand Slams.

It is starting to look like that success could come in a matter of weeks. Playing the first tour-level clay-court match of her career as she prepares for the third slam of the season, Gauff scored an impressive 6-4, 6-3 victory Ons Jabeur. The 16-year-old cruised into the second round after one hour and 21 minutes of play.

While Gauff converted match point with a big serve, those kinds of free points were few and far between in this contest. Both women were nothing short of disasters on serve. Even in a winning effort, Gauff double-faulted seven times and did not save a single break point — going 0-for-4 in such situations. Jabeur, however, struggled through an even worse serving day. The Tunisian put only 41 percent of her first-serve points in the court, double-faulted four times, won less than 45 percent of the points on both her first and second serves, and was broken on six occasions.

Of course, a lot of Jabeur’s struggles can be attributed to Gauff’s return game. Even though her serve was a disappointment, the world No 53 showcased a brilliant all-court game that belief her inexperience on the red stuff.

“I’m definitely happy to get a win today especially after a couple of tough losses back in New York,” Gauff said. “I’m just happy to be playing. I think Ons played great today. She’s a tricky player because she definitely changes the ball a little bit. I knew it was going to be tough, so to get a win over her on clay was really good.”

The American has an upcoming showdown with Garbine Muguruza one her hands. Muguruza kicked off the night session with a 6-3, 6-3 rout of Sloane Stephens in a battle of a Grand Slam champions.

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