- Coco Gauff won the ASB Classic in Auckland in her first victory of 2023
- She defeated Elina Svitolina in the event’s final
- Gauff is now ready for the Australian Open
Coco Gauff winning ASB Classic in Auckland taught her a hard lesson on defending a title which she says is difficult.
The 19-year-old American defeated Elina Svitolina 6-7 6-3 6-3 in the final of the WTA 250 event held in New Zealand ahead of the Australian Open 2024 in Melbourne.
Her hard court season seems to have started on a high note for the American teenager which is a carry-on from her impressive 2023 season.
Gauff fought bravely to win her first Grand Slam, the US Open. She deployed the ‘Mamba Mentality’ to beats Svitolina.
This was the Ukrainian’s first match after her maternity leave but Gauff proved to be too much of an opponent.
Coco Gauff Winning ASB Classic Lessons
One of the most important lessons Gauff picked from winning ASB Classic is handling the pressure that comes with her star-rated performance.
Winning the US Open elevated her to a different level and to a bigger fan base globally. More people are now following her tennis matches closely than before and the pressure to keep them happy is admittedly, real.
“It’s the first time I had to defend a title, so I’m very happy that I did it today,” she said post match.
A rainy match day added to the struggles she had to overcome in Auckland.
“This year the tournament was very different. Last year it rained almost every single match and we played indoors, with few people around. watch, so it’s really nice to play in front of a packed house almost every game,” she remarked.
Did Coco Gauff Play Well in ASB Classic?
Svitolina praised Gauff’s tennis skills saying she played well and she enjoyed playing in New Zealand for the first time. She described it as a ‘tough defeat’.
Gauff had to put in a lot of effort to defeat Svitolina in the championship match which eventually relied in a tie-break to settle the first balanced set.
Svitolina scored four set points to take a 3-2 lead and didn’t give up any more to her opponent. In the ensuing set, the Gauff came back with three breaks total and a 6-3 victory.
Both players permitted relatively few service opportunities in the pivotal set. Svitolina gave Gauff a chance to serve for the match at 4-3, and she grabbed it despite giving up a counter-break point.
The third set ended 6-3 for Gauff and sealed her first victory of the 204 season.
What Did Coco Gauff Learn in 2023?
She shared in November 2023 that the 2023 tennis season taught her that the journey to the top is tough but rewarding. The season made her realize that tennis stardom is not achieved overnight.
But, with hard work and dedication it all happens when the time is right. Gauff also talked about the mental challenges she encountered during the season, particularly grappling with negativity on social media.
Despite facing trolling, body-shaming, racist remarks, and grave threats, she demonstrated resilience by blocking detractors and maintaining her composure. Gauff points out a specific platform, X (formerly Twitter, now owned by Elon Musk), as a breeding ground for social media pessimism and sadism.
Lastly, she also learnt about the importance of not overly fixating on individual losses or specific phases.
She said that losses are hard to deal with but she discovered that the only way to handle it is through maintaining perspective and not dwelling on setbacks.
She now recognizes the dynamic nature of the game which is a mix of triumphs and losses. The latter according to the teenager is capable of messing with the best of tennis players if not properly dealt with.
Coco Gauff winning ASB Classic now puts her on the line for even more pressure and scrutiny as she heads out for the Australian Open.
Regardless of it all, she is optimistic of winning a second Grand Slam.