Gauff Retains Auckland Title Defeating Svitolina In Gruelling Final

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Coco Gauff battled past Elina Svitolina 6-7(4) 6-3 6-3 in the Auckland Classic final on Sunday to retain her title, and will head to the Australian Open brimming with confidence as she targets a second Grand Slam crown. Gauff, who burst onto the scene at Wimbledon five years ago, enjoyed a stellar 2023 as the 19-year-old American won her first major trophy at the US Open in September to reach a career-high world ranking of No 3.

The Auckland top seed continued to build momentum in the new season by winning the tune-up for the January 14-28 Australian Open; losing only one set after a thorough test in the final by twice Melbourne Park quarter-finalist Svitolina.

Both players dropped serve twice in the opening set before Gauff’s level dipped slightly as she squandered two set points at 5-3 to allow the big-hitting Svitolina to claw her way back and take the lead in the match via the tie-break. But Gauff responded strongly to breeze through the next set, and level the contest at one set apiece. She held her nerve after grabbing the crucial break in the eighth game of the decider to close out the victory.

“This is the first time ever having to defend a title so I’m really happy I was able to do it today,” Gauff said. “I’d like to congratulate Elina and your team on an incredible week. What you do, being a mum, coming back so fast and at such a high level, is inspiring.” Joking, she added: “Hopefully – not any time soon – I’ll be able to do it like you did.”

Nineteen-year-old Gauff has now won 29 of her past 33 singles matches.

 

 

 

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