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Coco Gauff – 2023 Season Review

Coco Gauff US Open

Coco Gauff had a lot to prove during the 2023 season. In the early stages of the year, the Grand Slam dreams and aspirations seemed like they wouldn’t come this season. However, a late-season surge turned around Gauff’s year, turning her into one of the top stars of women’s tennis. After a brutal loss at Wimbledon, Gauff compiled an incredible 24-4 record, highlighted by a first Grand Slam title at the US Open. LWOS recaps the American’s season.

Coco Gauff – 2023 Season Review

Early Season

Gauff began her 2023 campaign at the WTA Auckland event, capturing the title without dropping a set. In a rain-dampened week, she never looked to be in trouble, winning 6-1 6-1 in the final. She followed this up with a fourth-round appearance at the Australian Open, losing to an in-form Jelena Ostapenko.

After a solid victory over Petra Kvitova in Doha, Gauff couldn’t maintain her form in the quarterfinals, losing to Veronika Kudermetova, while winning the doubles title with Jessica Pegula. Gauff benefited from a withdrawal by Elena Rybakina in Dubai, allowing her to easily stroll into the semifinals. For the sixth time, she was defeated rather easily by Iga Swiatek.

Returning to home American soil, she was again unable to bring her best against fellow top opponents in Indian Wells, losing 4-6 0-6 to Aryna Sabalenka in the quarterfinals. In Miami, she lost in the third round to Anastasia Potapova. It was around this point that Gauff’s forehand dipped in form and consistency, breaking the American’s confidence.

Mid Season

While Gauff typically thrives on the clay courts, her clay court season was arguably her worst patch of form in 2023. In Stuttgart, she survived a messy first-round opener against Kudermetova, despite 53 unforced errors. In the second round, she again fell to Potapova. Later in Madrid, she was dominated by Paula Badosa 3-6 0-6 in the third round, again struggling on the forehand wing. Weeks later, she lost in the third round of Rome, this time to Marie Bouzkova.

Gauff entered the French Open with significant ranking points to defend for the first time in her career. She responded to the pressure quite well, reaching the quarterfinals and battling past young rival Marie Andreeva in a highly-anticipated encounter. Iga Swiatek was again too much for Gauff in the quarterfinals, as Gauff fell 4-6 2-6.

On the grass, Gauff picked up her first Top 10 win of 2023 against Jessica Pegula in Eastbourne. Her win over Pegula seemed to give the American an easy path to a first WTA 500 title, but she lost in the semifinals to Madison Keys. At Wimbledon, Gauff suffered her most heartbreaking loss of the season, falling 4-6 6-4 2-6 to Sofia Kenin in the first round.

Late Season – North American Hard Court Season

Gauff’s form picked up after Wimbledon, despite increasing adversity from media pundits and journalists. Gauff swept her way to a WTA 500 title in Washington D.C., claiming two Top 10 wins over Sakkari and Pegula, and not dropping a set. She added Brad Gilbert to her team, who tweaked some of her forehand tactics and serve strategy. Immediately, those changes paid off, as she later won her first WTA 1000 title in Cincinnati. Along the way, she claimed an elusive victory over Iga Swiatek, claiming her first-ever win over the Pole. After that three-set victory, she followed that up with a 6-3 6-4 over Karolina Muchova to hoist the trophy.

At the US Open, Gauff was handed a tricky draw, with a potential quarterfinal showdown against Swiatek looming. However, Gauff’s confidence seemed as strong as ever, as she battled through pressure and peaking opponents to reach the quarterfinals. She had to fight from a set down in two of her first three matches and won a taxing three-set match over Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round. In the quarterfinal, she swept past Ostapenko 6-0 6-2, who had notably shocked Swiatek a round prior.

Gauff claimed another straight sets win over Muchova in the semifinals, in a bizarre match impacted by a climate protest. Now in her second Grand Slam final against Sabalenka, Gauff battled past a slow start to win her first Grand Slam title. In front of 25,000 rowdy fans, she won 2-6 6-3 6-2, finishing the match on a running backhand winner down the line. The championship point summed up her improvements in her form — Gauff moved flawlessly across the court which helped her groundstrokes drastically improve in consistency.

Late Season – Asian Swing and WTA Finals

Her US Open result improved her ranking to a career-high of #3. Additionally, the tournament also cemented herself as the highest-paid female athlete player of 2023. With confidence and adversity now overcome, Gauff still played solid tennis in the latter portion of 2023. She reached the semifinals of the China Open, losing to Swiatek 2-6 3-6. At the WTA Finals, she swept rival Ons Jabeur 6-0 6-1 in her first match and battled past Marketa Vondrousova 5-7 7-6 (4) 6-3. The 19-year-old again lost dissapointly to Swiatek and lost in the semifinals rather easily to Jessica Pegula.

Gauff has done incredibly well to conquer adversity and pressure from fans, all while amassing millions of followers on social media networks, and signing endorsement deals with countless brands. She’ll certainly look to improve the forehand even more in 2024 and find new strategies to take out rivals such as Swiatek, Sabalenka, and Rybakina.

Main Photo Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports


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