“More Minimal Than I Thought’ - Coco Gauff On Playing First French Open Final - UBITENNIS
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“More Minimal Than I Thought’ – Coco Gauff On Playing First French Open Final

The American has insisted that she was not ‘freaking out’ in the title match.



Coco Gauff says she believes the key to her Grand Slam breakthrough was down to her mentality as she takes positives in missing out on the French Open title.

The world No.23 only managed to win four games during her comprehensive loss to top seed Iga Swiatek who has now won 35 matches in a row. Gauff is the youngest woman to contest a major final since Maria Sharapova did so at the 2004 Wimbledon Championships. Throughout the match she appeared tentative on court and leaked a costly 23 unforced errors. Furthermore, she only managed to win 44% of her service points.

To many it would appear that playing in the biggest final of her career yet took its toll on the American teenager. However, Gauff says the reality of playing in the French Open final wasn’t exactly as she dreamt. Putting full praise on Swiatek’s performance against her.

“I think it was very different. I feel like the moment was definitely more minimal than I thought,” she said.
“In the match, it probably looked like I was freaking out but really it was just Iga was too good. I wasn’t freaking out.’
“I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I was going to be.”

Gauff only played one seeded player en route to her showdown against the world No.1. That was in the fourth round when she defeated 31st seed Elise Mertens. She also scored wins over Kaia Kanepi, Sloane Stephens and Maria Trevisan.

“I guess the journey to get here I realized the key to making the final was not something with my game or something that I needed to fix. It was more with my mentality and how I entered the matches,” she continued.
“I think that’s what I think is the difference between me dreaming it and reality. It’s not like some master puzzle that you need to solve. You just kind of have to get your mind in the right place.”

Whilst she has missed out on the title, Gauff can take comfort in the fact she will rise to a career-high of 13th in the WTA rankings on Monday. She is already the youngest woman to be ranked in the world’s top 30 at present.

Despite her young age, Gauff has also shined at other Grand Slam events with runs to the fourth round on three separate occasions, as well as also reaching the last eight of the French Open last year.

“I definitely feel like this helped my confidence a lot. When I was 15, 16, 17, I felt so much pressure to make a final. Now that I made it, I feels like a relief a little bit.” she said.

There is no time to rest for Gauff who will return to the court in less than 24 hours to play in the women’s doubles final alongside Jessican Pegula. The pair will take on home favourites Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia.

“I don’t know what my happiest moment has been (at the French Open this year). Hopefully it will be tomorrow if we can win in doubles. Hopefully that will be the happiest moment,” Gauff concluded.

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Maria Sakkari Appoints Witt As Coach For American Swing



Maria Sakkari - WTA Washington 2023 (foto Twitter @mubadalacitidc)

Maria Sakkari has enlisted the help of Jessica Pegula’s former long-time coach in a bid to regain her form on the Tour. 

Greek media has confirmed that the world No.9 has begun a partnership with David Witt, who has also previously coached Venus Williams. Witt had worked with Pegula since 2019 before the tennis star decided to end their collaboration earlier this year. During their time together he oversaw the American win two WTA 1000 events, reached the quarter-final of a grand Slam on six occasions and peaked at a ranking high of No.3. 

Sakkari’s appointment comes after she ended her six-year working relationship with Tom Hill. Highlights of their partnership include winning two Tour titles, reaching a Grand Slam semi-final twice and spending more than two years in the top 10. 

“Tom, thank you for all the emotions, the support on and off the court, and the belief you had in me since day one,” Sakkari wrote on Instagram last month. “We grew together, and you helped me realize that everything is possible.

“Not only did you make me a better tennis player, but you also made me a better person. Thank you for always wanting the best for me and for always having my back! Good luck on the next chapter in your career.”

Sakkari is looking to get back on track after what has been a disappointing start to 2024. She had won just two matches in her first four singles tournaments played and is yet to face an opponent ranked in the world’s top 20. However, she faired better at the United Cup, where she won three matches in the team event, including victories over Lelylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber. 

It is understood that Sakkari will be working with Witt at both Indian Wells and Miami. If their partnership is successful, it could be extended further into the clay swing. The other members of her team will remain in the same roles. 

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai



Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro



Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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