Coco Gauff plays a forehand
Coco Gauff feels the love and cruises past Ons Jabeur in WTA Finals opener
American takes 57 minutes to beat Tunisian 6-0, 6-1 in Cancún
Iga Swiatek defeats Czech Marketa Vondrousova 7-6 (3), 6-0
Tue 31 Oct 2023 06.53 GMT
Coco Gauff got off to a dominating start at the WTA Finals on Monday in Cancún, Mexico, routing the No 6 seed Ons Jabeur 6-0, 6-1.
The 19-year-old needed just 57 minutes to seal the victory over her Tunisian opponent. The third-seeded Florida native became the first teenager to win a singles match at the season-ending finals since Caroline Wozniacki 14 years ago. Last year, Gauff lost all three of her singles matches in the WTA Finals at Fort Worth, Texas.
Gauff is looking for a strong finish to the season after capturing her first career grand slam title at the US Open. Jabeur got to the Wimbledon final this year, but she remains without a major championship despite reaching three finals.
The match was the opener for both players in the Chetumal Group. The other two players in the group also played their opener on Monday, as second-seeded Iga Swiatek of Poland got past seventh-seeded Czech Marketa Vondrousova 7-6 (3), 6-0.
Two groups of four players are competing in separate round robins in the tournament’s opening phase. The two top players in each group advance to the semi-finals on Saturday, with the Saturday winners competing for the championship on Sunday.
The Chetumal Group co-leaders will face off on Wednesday when Gauff takes on Swiatek.
Gauff saved all three break points she faced against Jabeur – all of which came in the final set – while also converting five of her eight break opportunities.
“Ons is a great player, so I felt really unsteady the whole match even though it didn’t [look] like that,” Gauff said. “But I’m just happy to finally get a win here in this event. Sometimes you win a couple games and the rain delay happens and the match can completely turn around. But I was able to stay steady the whole time.
“I got a marriage proposal yesterday so I’m feeling the love here in Cancún. I honestly wasn’t expecting as much support today … I appreciate you guys and hopefully we can get a lot more people to come as the week continues.”
Earlier, Swiatek recovered from a 5-2 deficit in the first set to storm past Vondrousova. The Polish player won four consecutive games to get back on serve, then pulled away from a 3-3 score in the tiebreaker, taking the last four points.
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“Honestly, even in the first part of the match I wasn’t feeling like I was playing bad,” Swiatek said. “I just felt like I was making mistakes on the last shots within the rally. I felt that there was, for sure, room for improvement, but I didn’t need to change a lot. So I just wanted to be more precise and more solid … not play risky.”
Iga Swiatek prepares to play a backhand
Iga Swiątek of Poland in action against Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic on day two of the WTA Finals. Photograph: Robert Prange/Getty Images
Vondrousova fell apart in the second set, producing just one winner and 13 unforced errors. “I was 5-2 up and she started to play better,” Vondrousova said. “She didn’t give me much of a chance after. The second set, she was playing really amazing – there was nothing much to do.”
The Bacalar Group will return to action on Tuesday. Top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus will oppose fifth-seeded Jessica Pegula of the US in a matchup of players who won their first match, while fourth-seeded Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan and eighth-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece will square off in a match-up of players who dropped their opener.