Gauff marches to first WTA 1000 win in Cincinnati

The 19-year-old completed the perfect preparation for the US Open as she beat Karolina Muchova in straight sets

Coco Gauff Western & Southern Open 2023 Icon SMI / Panoramic

American teenager Coco Gauff picked up the biggest title of her career to date as she beat Karolina Muchova 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday to win the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

The 19-year-old, who beat world No 1 Iga Swiatek for the first time in the semis, held her nerve when she needed to as she won her fifth career title and first WTA 1000 crown, the perfect preparation for the US Open, which begins on August 28.

“This unbelievable,” said Gauff, who has now won 11 win out of 12 matches since Wimbledon and three titles this year. “After everything that happened earlier this summer, especially in Europe, I’m just happy to be here in this moment.

“It’s been a lot of nights alone, crying, trying to figure it out. I still have a lot of things to figure out.”

Gauff begins strongly

Having beaten Swiatek, Gauff had the confidence and the support of the home crowd and she began well, breaking for a 2-0 lead.

But Muchova, the runner-up at the French Open earlier this summer, who had taken out Aryna Sabalenka on her way to the final, showed yet again how clever she is as she worked her way back into the match. The Czech got the break back thanks to a Gauff double-fault and held for 2-2.

But Gauff always had the advantage and the momentum and she held for 3-2, broke for 4-2 and though she gave the break back straightaway, the 19-year-old broke the Muchova serve again and this time, was solid on serve as she held to love to take the first set after 43 minutes.

Gauff rides the momentum, holds her nerve

The start of the second set was a cagey affair, both players saving break points as games stayed on serve to 2-2. Muchova continued to mix up her game smartly, serving and volleying at times, staying back at times, never allowing her opponent to see the same ball more than twice in a row.

But the momentum was with Gauff and though Muchova saved a couple of break points, she grabbed the vital break for 3-2 when the Czech sent a backhand wide.

Gauff held a long sixth game to move further ahead and then, after Muchova led 40-0 on her own serve, she found away to get the insurance of a second break, and a 5-2 lead.

It was just as well because after going up 40-15, two Championship points, she looked tight and Muchova sensed her chance, saving both and then a third as she grabbed one of the breaks back.

But Gauff was not to be denied, moving up 0-30 on the Czech’s serve. A short delay, when a fan needed treatment, allowed Muchova to gather her thoughts and regain her breath and she won four straight points to force Gauff to serve out the match.

If there were nerves, they were not obvious as she held serve to love to clinch an enormous victory.

Gauff will remain at No 6 when the rankings are updated but Muchova will rise to a career-high No 10 on Monday, which happens to be her birthday.

People in this post

Your comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *