Tournament 5 Jan 2024

Gauff sounds warning bells for opposition at ASB Classic

by ASB Classic
Gauff sounds warning bells for opposition at ASB Classic

Defending champion Coco Gauff fired a warning shot across the bows of her opponents with an impressive win to move into the quarterfinals at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

The world no 3 ranked player raced through her 6-1 6-1 encounter over Varvara Gracheva (FRA) without raising a sweat in an emphatic display.

It sets up a quarterfinal clash against compatriot Emma Navarro who saw off Croatia’s Petra Martic 6-4 6-3.

The 19 year old American was quick to point out hat the quality of her own performance was the key.

“Today was definitely a great performance by me. I am happy with the way I served and happy with the way I played,” said Gauff.

A key was her serve, which has been a key area of her game that she has address, clocking over 200kph on the speed-gun with 19 of 30 first serves landing.

Meanwhile Navarro is looking forward to taking on her compatriot, after they enjoyed a practice game this week, and did meet when in age competitions.

“I am excited at the prospect of playing Coco. We've played a couple of times in the past. She's obviously an amazing player and an amazing athlete and I'd be excited to test myself against a player like that,” said Navarro.

In the other side of the draw Ukrainian Elina Svitolina had a long wait after a rain delay, getting on the court at 10pm, before beating fifth seed Marie Bouzkova (CZE) XX-XX.

She will meet world 71 ranked Xiyu Wang from China, who prevailed in a mammoth clash of over three hours, to edge out Frenchwoman Diane Parry 6-7 6-3 6-4.

Meanwhile former world top-10 Denis Shapovalov from Canada, who has a ranking of 109 after time out with injury, has gained a place in qualifying for the tournament.

While the women move into semifinal phase on Saturday and finals on Sunday, the men begin two rounds of qualifying with 16 players vying for six spots in the field.

Here’s what Navarro and Gauff had to say today:

Emma Navarro:

“I'm happy with my performance today. I think I was able to return really well and just play a really aggressive game.

“The rain was kind of nice. I had got broken first game of the match, didn't play a great game coming out there and usually rain delays aren't the best, but I was able to regroup and I felt really energetic and ready to play.

“I played my best tennis so far today and just been getting more comfortable every day here. It's definitely a little bit challenging coming back to match play after having a month and a half off.”

Coco Gauff:

“Obviously the scoreline might suggest otherwise (in terms of the qualify of competition) but I think it is tough enough but I just played really good today. I don’t want to sit here and say it is easy because it is not. It is a professional level but I had a good day and the scoreline went my way, but who knows tomorrow.

“The matches are where they need to be and I am happy with the way I am playing.

“Sometimes if I play a good match and I feel there’s no tweaks needed then I won’t go out – you just leave it. I’ve learned that if you are feeling good then you don’t need to hit.

“My serve is something I have been working on. I still feel I have a lot to improve but I feel I am moving in the right direction.”

“I feel I am a lot smarter as a player this year. I am making smarter decisions on the court; I am not putting as much pressure on myself. I am having fun.”

5 January Results

Women SF - [2] A. Danilina (KAZ) / V. Hruncakova (SVK) d. [4] J. Ponchet (FRA) / A. Siskova (CZE) 76(2) 46 10-7 
QF - [1] C. Gauff (USA) d. [8] V. Gracheva (FRA) 61 61 
QF - [4] E. Navarro (USA) d. [7] P. Martic (CRO) 64 63 
QF - X. Wang (CHN) d. D. Parry (FRA) 67(3) 63 64 
QF - [2] E. Svitolina (UKR) d. [5] M. Bouzkova (CZE) 60 63 

Women’s Draw: STADIUM starts at 03:00 PM
[1] Coco Gauff (USA) vs [4] Emma Navarro (USA) 
NB 5:00 PM Xiyu Wang (CHN) vs [2] Elina Svitolina (UKR) 
[1] Marie Bouzkova (CZE) / Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) vs McCartney Kessler (USA) / Suzan Lamens (NED) 


Tomorrow’s men’s qualifying draw:

First Round
[1] Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) vs. [WC] Jack Loutit (NZL)
Alex Michelsen (USA) vs. [5] Gregoire Barrere (FRA)
[2] Taro Daniel (JPN) vs. Patrick Kypson (USA)
[WC] Isaac Becroft (NZL) vs. [6] Alejandro Tabilo (CHI)
[3] Alexandre Muller (FRA) vs. Denis Shapovalov (CAN)
Daniel Galan (COL) vs. [8] Constant Lestienne (FRA)
[4] Cristian Garin (CHI) vs. Luca Van Assche (FRA)
JIn Vesely (CZE) vs. [7] Jaume Munar (ESP)