US Open Champion Coco Gauff Loses to Iga Swiatek at WTA Finals
By Associated Press | Nov 2, 2023, 08:52 AM
CANCUN, Mexico — In a surprising turn of events, US Open champion Coco Gauff suffered a defeat against four-time major title winner Iga Swiatek at the WTA Finals on a windy Wednesday night. Gauff, who double-faulted four times in a row while serving for the second set, lost 6-0, 7-5 in the round-robin action.
“A tough day in the office for me,” expressed Gauff, who also lost a doubles match earlier in the day. “I mentally didn’t stay in it when I was serving for it.”
Gauff attributed her struggles to the challenging wind conditions and a recent two-week break from serving due to a shoulder injury. However, she remains determined not to let this setback define her serving abilities. “I have done well throughout the year, serving well, so I’m not going to let a bad two games define how I serve,” said the third-seeded Gauff.
The match took place in front of plenty of empty seats at the temporary hard court, which did not go unnoticed by Swiatek. “It’s a shame that we don’t have a full stadium,” she remarked. Swiatek hopes that such situations can be avoided in the future, emphasizing the need for improvements in attendance at tennis events.
The decision to host the WTA Finals in Cancun was announced in September, surprising many tennis enthusiasts. The tournament brings together the top eight players in women’s tennis to compete for the season-ending championship.
In another singles match on Day 4, three-time major runner-up Ons Jabeur secured a victory against Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova with a score of 6-4, 6-3. Jabeur, who lost to Vondrousova in the final at the All England Club in July, made a heartfelt announcement after her win. She pledged to donate part of her prize money to support the Palestinians, emphasizing her desire for peace in the world.
The semifinalists from this group will be determined on Friday, with Swiatek (2-0) facing Jabeur (1-1) and Gauff (1-1) taking on Vondrousva (0-2).
During the match, Gauff held a 4-2 lead in the second set and was just one game away from forcing a third set at 5-4. However, a series of double-faults led to her downfall. Frustrated, Gauff threw her racket and later tossed it at her bench as she walked to the sideline. This marked a stretch where she lost nine consecutive points and 12 of the last 13 against Swiatek, who now holds a 9-1 record against Gauff.
Reflecting on the match, Gauff commented, “The first set went fast.” Indeed, it was the 22nd 6-0 set won by Swiatek in 2023. The 22-year-old from Poland, who held the No. 1 ranking for nearly 1 1/2 years until Aryna Sabalenka overtook her after the US Open, became the first woman since Steffi Graf and Monica Seles in 1991-92 to win at least 20 sets by a 6-0 score in two consecutive seasons.
In doubles action, Gauff and Jessica Pegula, who secured a spot in the singles semifinals with a victory on Tuesday, suffered a defeat against Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in Wednesday’s final contest. The match ended with a score of 3-6, 7-5, 10-6.