Gauff through to Auckland WTA final

January 07, 2023 02:56 PM AEDT | By AAPNEWS
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Coco Gauff is into her fourth career WTA final after a straight sets routing of Danka Kovinic in Auckland.

The world No.7 won through to her first decider since last year's French Open with a 6-0 6-2 defeat of the Montenegrin on Saturday.

After a week of heavy rain that forced much of the tournament inside, the skies cleared for semi-final day, allowing tennis-starved fans to return to the ASB Classic.

They witnessed the 18-year-old top seed in determined form, cleaning up in just 72 minutes and declaring herself happy with her performance.

"Some of those shots I was like 'okay that was pretty good'," Gauff said.

"I was really happy ... it was really good on my behalf."

Despite the scoreline, Gauff began on a shaky footing, offering Kovinic two break points in her opening game.

Showing nerves that she struggled to shake, Kovinic botched an easy winner to let the American back in.

The set was played on Gauff's racquet, and when she mishit a drop shot on break point at 3-0, she turned and smiled to the crowd, revealing her relaxed nature.

The next put-away chance she had, Gauff punched through with a thumping backhand winner, racing through the set.

Kovinic showed pluck in the second set, using drop shots to get back in the contest and breaking Gauff early.

Disappointingly, she gave away her service in the next game with a double fault, keeping Gauff in control.

After saving three match points, Kovinic succumbed to the inevitable, putting Gauff one win away from her third career title.

The victory was Gauff's fourth straight sets win in Auckland, with two matches played on inside training courts - without fans - due to rain.

Gauff will be heavily favoured in Sunday's final given two qualifiers won through on the other side of the draw.

Belgian Ysaline Bonaventure and Spain's Rebeka Masarova play their semi-final later on Saturday, both gunning to reach their maiden WTA final.

Within minutes of Gauff's win, the heavens opened again, meaning their semi-final is likely to head indoors.


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