Coco Gauff showcased her formidable skills and advanced to the semifinals of the WTA Finals, securing a hard-fought victory over Wimbledon champion Markéta Vondroušová on Friday. Despite conceding 17 double faults during the match, Gauff’s determination and resilience prevailed.
The 19-year-old prodigy completed an impressive comeback, defeating Vondrousova with a final score of 5-7 6-7 (7-4) 6-3. This extraordinary feat made her the first teenager since Caroline Wozniacki in 2009 to reach the semifinals of the tournament. Gauff now gears up for an all-American showdown against her doubles partner Jessica Pegula.
Vondrousova initially held the upper hand, positioning herself for a victory in the second set. However, Gauff batted away the pressure and forced the set into a tiebreak, ultimately emerging victorious. Gauff later shared her thoughts on the match, stating, “I felt like I needed to hit through the court. She’s a very tricky player. When you play her pace and let her move you side to side, it’s tough. And I played her, it’s my third time, so I know that.”
Challenging weather conditions in Cancún, Mexico, characterized by wind and rain, caused several play delays and influenced Gauff’s strategy. Reflecting on these conditions, Gauff expressed, “In the wind, it’s tough to be as aggressive as you want because the bounces are weird and the ball was moving. So I’m glad I made that adjustment and didn’t get too frustrated when I missed. You pay the price for hopefully a good reward.”
Moreover, Gauff’s triumph marked a significant milestone as she became the first American teenager since Venus Williams in 1999 to achieve over 50 wins in a single season, according to the WTA. The path to victory continued for Aryna Sabalenka, who also advanced to the semifinals with a 6-2 3-6 6-3 win over Elena Rybakina, following a match interrupted the previous day due to rain delay.
If Sabalenka manages to defeat Iga Świątek in their semifinal clash, she will secure the coveted year-end world No. 1 ranking. Meanwhile, Świątek claimed her semifinal spot by defeating Ons Jabeur 6-1 6-2. Pegula, on the other hand, secured her spot in the showdown against Gauff by triumphing in all three of her matches during the round-robin group stage.
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Jessica Roberts serves up the latest in the world of tennis. With a love for the racket sport, she reports on tennis matches, player rankings, and Grand Slam events, ensuring readers stay informed about the tennis world.