Coco Gauff beats Elina Svitolina to retain Auckland crown; Elena Rybakina routs Aryna Sabalenka to Brisbane title | Tennis News

Coco Gauff defended her Auckland title as she beat Ukrainian Elina Svitolina to win ASB Classic in three sets; 19-year-old American won 6-7 (4) 6-3 6-3 in just over two and a half hours to make it 10 straight wins at the event; Elena Rybakina routed Aryna Sabalenka to claim Brisbane title

Coco Gauff battled past Elina Svitolina 6-7(4) 6-3 6-3 in the Auckland Classic final on Sunday to retain her title and will head to the Australian Open brimming with confidence as she targets a second Grand Slam crown.

Gauff, who burst onto the scene at Wimbledon five years ago, enjoyed a stellar 2023 as the 19-year-old American won her first major trophy at the US Open in September to reach a career-high world ranking of No 3.

The Auckland top seed continued to build momentum in the new season by winning the tune-up for the January 14-28 Australian Open, losing only one set after a thorough test in the final by twice Melbourne Park quarter-finalist Svitolina.

Coco Gauff lifts the Auckland Classic trophy for the second year in a row

Both players dropped serve twice in the opening set before Gauff’s level dipped slightly as she squandered two set points at 5-3 to allow the big-hitting Svitolina to claw her way back and take the lead in the match via the tie-break.

But Gauff responded strongly to breeze through the next set and level the contest at one set apiece, and held her nerve after grabbing the crucial break in the eighth game of the decider to close out the victory.

Ruthless Rybakina routs Sabalenka to claim Brisbane title

Elena Rybakina handed Aryna Sabalenka a reality check on Sunday ahead of her Australian Open title defence with a crushing 6-0 6-3 victory in the final of the Brisbane International, a rematch of last year’s Melbourne title-decider.

World No 2 and top seed Sabalenka came into the contest on a 15-match winning streak in Australia but was completely outplayed by the former Wimbledon champion on Pat Rafter Arena.

Best of the action from the Brisbane International final between Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka

Rybakina wrapped up the first set in 24 minutes on the back of three breaks of serve as Sabalenka, shaking her head at herself in disbelief, sprayed 12 unforced errors across the Queensland Tennis Centre showcourt.

The Kazakh broke Sabalenka again to start the second set and, although there was more fight from the other side of the net, sealed her sixth career title when the Belarussian crashed another forehand wide.

“I want to congratulate Aryna on a great week and a great season last year and hopefully we will meet again in Melbourne,” the Moscow-born world No 4 said in the on-court presentation ceremony.

“Despite the score, it’s always tough to play you. We push each other, which is great, and we improve in this way so I hope that continues.”

The pair split their four meetings last year with two wins apiece, although Sabalenka won the match that mattered most to claim her first Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park.

“Honestly, I don’t know where to start,” said a laughing Sabalenka. “Elena, wow, I don’t know where to start. Thank you for those three games, at least we made it look like a fight.”

“Couple of words to my team, you did a bad job today. 6-0 6-3, that’s all your fault guys… Hopefully we’ll be better at the Australia Open.”

Source link