Coco Gauff eliminated in the WTA Finals; Iga Swiatek in the semi-finals
Tears welled up in Coco Gauff’s eyes as she sat on the sidelines at the WTA Finals on a Thursday night change after giving away a lead in what would become a 7-6 loss ( 6), 6-3 in round robin play against Daria Kasatkina that ended the 18-year-old American’s hopes of reaching the semifinals.
Gauff, who is ranked No. 4, fell to 0-4 in her season-ending tournament debut for the best of women’s tennis – 0-2 in singles and 0-2 in doubles with Jessica Pegula. The Floridian was the youngest participant in the two events of the WTA final since Anna Kournikova in 1999.
“I had a lot of chances. I didn’t play my best tennis today, but I have a lot to learn from it, a lot to learn and I hope to do better next time,” Gauff said.
“In both (singles) matches I had opportunities. I think I made a lot of unforced errors,” she said. “So I think that’s something I I’ll have to clean up.”
Earlier Thursday, top-ranked Iga Swiatek beat Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-2 taking control with an eight-point run that kicked off a game-ending streak in which she won nine of 11 games. .
“Pushed me out of my comfort zone,” Garcia said.
Swiatek has won all four sets she has contested so far while dropping a total of just 10 matches.
“It’s the last tournament of the season, so I have nothing to lose. I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to do next,” Swiatek said. “So, yes, of course, I give 100%, physically and mentally.”
The results mean Swiatek clinched a spot in the semi-finals and No. 6 Garcia will face No. 8 Kasatkina on Thursday for the other available spot in their group.
Kasatkina, whose best Grand Slam performance was a semi-final at Roland Garros in June, started slowly on Thursday, trailing 4-1 against Gauff, who was the runner-up in Paris. But Kasatkina started hitting more shots on Gauff’s forehand, his weaker side, and it paid off.
Kasatkina quickly racked up five of six games to lead 6-5; that was the score when Gauff used a white towel to wipe away tears during a change. Gauff briefly straightened things out, breaking to force a tiebreaker which she led 3-0, 4-2. But after saving Kasatkina’s first pair of set points, Gauff caved in on the third, putting a forehand into the net to close out a 24-shot rally.
Gauff started the day 1-16 this season giving up the first set, while Kasatkina came 28-0 claiming it, and those trends haven’t changed.
Swiatek’s win made it 14-1 against top-10 ranked opponents in 2022 – and those 14 wins were all in a row, the longest single-season unbeaten streak on tour in 15 years.
Garcia is the only WTA Finals entrant to defeat Swiatek this year – at the Polish Open in July, when Garcia was ranked just 45th – and the score was 3, all early Thursday.
But Swiatek then raced to the end of that set and broke at 2-0 in the second.
Swiatek’s forehand is probably his most dangerous shot, but his backhand was up to the task that day – producing passing shots when Garcia went to the net or closing longer base rallies with winners – and his serve got stronger as the match progressed. on, including finishing with a 108 mph ace.
It was Swiatek’s 66th win of the year. The 21-year-old Pole is also in the lead with eight titles, including at Roland-Garros and the US Open.
“She was definitely the best this year,” Garcia said. “And she continues to prove it.”
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