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Coco Gauff (WTA 53) has reached the second round at the clay court tournament in Rome. Against the Australian Open quarter-finalist Ons Jabeur (WTA 34) from Tunisia, she prevailed 6: 4, 6: 3 after a difficult start.
Coco Gauff: Still an apprentice on the sand
For the American women's tennis hope Gauff, the US hard court season has recently been a small damper. She was only able to win matches in Lexington, at the two tournaments held at the US Open, there was an opening defeat, especially the game in the first round of the US Open against Anastasija Sevastova will probably remain painful in Gauff's memory.
After all: Gauff had a victory against today's opponent Ons Jabeur in Lexington. In Rome, however, the omens were quite different. Like most American female players who are mainly socialized on hard courts, Gauff has (still) been a little alienated with European clay courts in this absolutely early phase of her career. Last year she failed to qualify for Roland-Garros. At the ITF level, she gained sand experience in 2019, but also various defeats against opponents, which she could probably stand up to on hard courts much better.
So it quickly became clear today that the Tunisian, with her variable and tricky game, would be able to keep Gauff auf Sand from getting into her rhythm. Jabeur moved the 16-year-old well, kept sending her on the journey with angular play and stop balls and kept the ball uncomfortably flat for the American with her slice. Many relatively simple mistakes by Gauff were the result.
Jabeur gambled away their lead
After a very good start, however, more and more mistakes crept into Ons Jabeur's game. The many variations have now turned into a boomerang because the 26-year-old missed the clear line in her game. Stops and praises were now too often too long. Gauff reacted wisely and played back the balls more solidly and with less risk than at the beginning of the game. So Jabeur tore himself what she had built up before, gambled away her break lead in the truest sense of the word and after sentence one stood there with a 4: 6 and empty hands.
Gauff rocks the game home
Gauff seemed to be able to use the tailwind of the set lead to march through to victory when she managed a break in set two. However, she also showed weaknesses again and involuntarily brought a Jabeur back into the match with two double errors in a row. This and another Rebreak Jabeurs should prove to be a flash in the pan. In the end, Coco Gauff rocked the match 6: 3 home and can now continue to gain experience on the red ashes in Rome.
(Image © imago images / AAP)
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