Misc Tennis

Iga Swiatek takes WTA Finals match as Coco Gauff struggles

Iga Swiatek takes WTA Finals match as Coco Gauff struggles

CANCUN, Mexico — US Open champion Coco Gauff double-faulted four times in a row while serving for the second set and wound up losing 6-0, 7-5 to three-time major title winner Iga Swiatek in round-robin action at the WTA Finals on a windy Wednesday night.

There were plenty of empty seats at the temporary hard court — and Swiatek noticed.

“It’s a shame that we don’t have full a stadium,” she said afterward.

“Hopefully for the future, there’s not going to be any more situation like that, and they’re going to work to improve that,” Swiatek said.

The WTA’s decision to host the event in Cancun was not announced until September.

In the other singles match Wednesday at the season-ending championship — which is for the top eight players in women’s tennis — three-time major finalist Ons Jabeur defeated Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova 6-4, 6-3.

The two women who will advance to the semifinals from this group will be determined Friday, when Swiatek (who is 2-0 so far) faces Jabeur (1-1) and Gauff (1-1) meets Vondrousva (0-2).

On Wednesday, Gauff led 4-2 in the second set, then was a game away from forcing a third while serving at 5-4. The teenager from Florida went up 15-love, then dropped the game with the series of double-faults. After the fourth, Gauff spiked her racket, then picked it up and tossed it at her bench as she walked to the sideline.

That was part of a stretch in which the American lost nine points in a row and 12 of the last 13 against Swiatek, who improved to 9-1 against Gauff.

Earlier, Gauff chucked her racket after one errant backhand return late in the lopsided opening set.

That was the 22nd 6-0 set won in 2023 by Swiatek, a 22-year-old from Poland who was ranked No. 1 for nearly 1 1/2 years until Aryna Sabalenka overtook her after the US Open in September. Swiatek is the first woman to win at least 20 sets by a 6-0 score in two consecutive seasons since Steffi Graf and Monica Seles both did it in 1991-92.

Gauff and Jessica Pegula, who qualified for the singles semifinals with a victory Tuesday, were scheduled to play doubles against Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in Wednesday’s final contest.

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