Coco Gauff looks set for US Open run after cruising to Cincinnati Masters win

Coco Gauff secured the biggest title of her young career as the American defeated Karolina Muchova to win the Cincinnati Masters. On Sunday, Gauff made history as she became the first teenage champion of the US Open tune-up. 

Gauff, who overcame World No. 1 Iga Swiatek in three sets to reach her first WTA 1000 final, was forced to dig deep and battle for each and every point against Muchova. The 19-year-old secured a 6-3, 6-4 victory to claim her third title of the season after previously winning in Auckland, New Zealand, and Washington, D.C.

The American held her nerve when play was paused as she led 30-0 at 5-3 in the second set when a fan appeared to fall ill in the stands. Gauff managed to get the job done in the following game, serving out to secure the title. 

Currently No. 7 in the world, Gauff has earned 900 WTA ranking points for her victory in Cincinnati and will surely see her ranking rise. She also became the fourth American champion of the event, following Lindsay Davenport (2004), Serena Williams (2014, 2015) and Madison Keys (2019).

Since losing in the first round at Wimbledon earlier this summer, Gauff has won 11 of her last 12 matches – and dropped just three sets across the run. She is enjoying an incredible run throughout the hard court season and will hope it translates to a maiden Grand Slam victory at the US Open.

Gauff, who has become the first teenager to win five career titles since Caroline Wozniacki in 2009, got off to a slow start against Muchova’s offensive net game. However, she calmed down and steadily performed from the baseline, holding her Czech opponent to just four winners and forcing 13 errors in the first set.

The American was set to win in style after she earned a double-break to serve out the win at 5-2. However, Muchova fought to stay in contention and saved three match points to break and close the gap.

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After sealing the title, Gauff congratulated Muchova and thanked her team for helping her secure the “unbelievable” win. She said: “After everything I went through earlier this summer, I’m just happy to be here in this moment. I spent a lot of nights alone, crying, trying to figure it out, and I still have a lot to figure out but I thank Him for covering me.”

Gauff was upset in the first round at Wimbledon and then added Brad Gilbert to her team. Gilbert, who has also served as an analyst for ESPN, also previously coached Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray. Agassi won six of his eight Grand Slams under his guidance, and Roddick won the 2003 US Open.

When asked how Gauff will handle expectations going into the US Open that starts a week from Monday, Lindsay Davenport said on Tennis Channel: “It’s a lot easier to handle the expectation when you believe you can win. It gets a little hard and can be overwhelming when you’re not at full confidence or maybe you’re still a little bit scared at the moment. She seems to be embracing everything that’s coming with her game now and with winning. 

“She’s got an experienced team behind her. I think this might be the time where she’s really ready to take that next step.”

Davenport added: “Now she goes into the last major of the year with the belief that she can become a Grand Slam champion.”

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