Tournament 8 Jan 2023

Favourite Coco Gauff claims women’s title at ASB Classic

by ASB Classic
Favourite Coco Gauff claims women’s title at ASB Classic

Favourite on-song to claim women’s title at ASB Classic

She came in as the hot favourite and despite the trials and tribulations of Auckland’s big wet, Coco Gauff triumphed at the ASB Classic.

She accounted for qualifier Rebeka Nazarova from Spain 6-1 6-1 after another lengthy rain delay in the middle of the match at the ASB Tennis Arena.

The 18-year-old scored her first win on her favoured hard surface for three years, which has given her considerable confidence going to the first grand Slam of the year in Melbourne.

“It gives me a lot of confidence. The first week, you never know how it is going to go. I think we have both had a great week,” said Gauff in reference to her opponent.

“Honestly, it’s been a great week for me despite the rain. I couldn’t ask for a better start to my season. It’s my first title on hard since I was 15.”

Gauff led 5-1 and her advantage for the first set when the rain came, resulting in a near two-hour delay. She wrapped up the first set within minutes of the resumption. The American pushed to 4-1 up in the second but the 23-year-old Spaniard fought back with some strong ground strokes to earn break opportunities. However, Gauff dug deep several times, with her powerful serve, and deft drop shots and volleys to wrap up the win and the title.

“It’s my third title. I wanted a win but did not expect it in the first tournament of the year. I have honestly loved everything about my time in Auckland, and loved having my family here for the first week. I definitely want to come back next year.”

Masarova earned much credit, coming through the week as a qualifier and it is predicted that the Spaniard, ranked 130 coming into the week, will break into the all-important top-100 ranked players.

“That was one of my big goals for the season and now it looks like I have done it in the first tournament. So now I can reset my goals going forward and look to go to Australia with more confidence.”

Gauff attributed her success to some hard work in the off-season.

“I played with a bunch of guys and I was winning some but losing most of it. A credit to my good off-season – thanks to my coach for prepping me. It was tough although I loved it and clearly he knows that he is doing.”

As the tournament edged over midnight, the doubles encounter went the way of the third seeds Miju Kato (Japan) and Aldila Sutjiadi (Indonesia) who came back from losing the opening set 1-6 and down 1-5 in the second set to Leylah Fernandez (Canada) and Bethanie Mattel-Sands (USA).

Kato and Sutjiadi claimed the second set 7-5 and then won the super tiebreak 10-4 for the title.

It gives way for the men’s ASB Classic, with one qualifying game to finalise on Monday morning before it begins from Monday afternoon.