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Texas

Coco Gauff wins the ASB Classic in a good start to 2023

AUCKLAND – American Coco Gauff, who took first place, completed the team start of the new season on Sunday, beating Spain’s Victoria Masarova 6-1, 6-1 in the ASB Classic final.

Gauff claimed her third WTA Tour title, but her first on hard courts in years, boosting her confidence ahead of the Australian Open.

The match was marked by another of the long rain breaks that were typical of the Oakland week, with matches either delayed or forced indoors. The 18-year-old Gauff coped better than most with the weather because she was used to rain interrupted by the tropical climate of her native Florida.

She did not lose a set all week, although she had tough matches ahead of former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and seventh seed Danka Kovinic.

“It was a great week for me despite the rain,” Gauff said. “I could not have dreamed of a better start to the season.

“This is my first hard court title since I was 15, so it’s nice to finally succeed on the surface I love.”

Throughout the tournament, Gauff looked in great shape, building her game behind a strong serve. She was powerful from the back of the line and accurate when she landed the passing shots.

Gauff approached the grid frequently and decisively. Whenever she did, she played purposefully and ruthlessly, intercepting Masarova’s attempts. Even with both players in goal in the fourth game of the second set, Gauff kept her composure and scored a point.

Masarova, ranked 130th, had an outstanding week to reach her first WTA Tour final. But she was playing her eighth game in a row, and that effort could have taken its toll. On Sunday, she tried everything, but Gauf had the answer.

“I’m glad I was able to reach my first WTA final, but today’s game disappointed me,” said Masarova. “I felt like I couldn’t play my game but Coco was amazing and didn’t give me a chance.

“I had a lot of tough matches. I think it helped me stay physically fit during the week, but it was a long week with stops and starts. I think I warmed up about 25 times.”

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