2023 US Open – Coco’s Time is Here
Just when we thought the trio of Sabalenka, Swiatek and Rybakina was the new dominant force in Women’s tennis, Coco Gauff wins the US Open to shake things up at the top.
Coco Gauff has been the non-favorite at all the big tournaments. Not anymore. It started with a great run in Washington D.C. to win the title, then off to Cincinnati where she would win her first Masters 1000, and finally at the US Open, where she completely dismantled Sabalenka on her way to her first Grand Slam title.
This was no coincidence. With the help of Brad Gilbert and her amazing team, Coco Gauff notched her first Grand Slam title of many. This has always been in the cards for Coco Gauff. It just seemed unlikely because she hasn’t been exactly dominant, especially at the Grand Slams. At Grand Slams it has been all Rybakina, Swiatek and Sabalenka as of late. Many pundits thought Coco needed at least a couple of more years to get to that level. It seems she’s at that level right about now.
So, what has changed in her game? To me, what I noticed the most was how persistent and steady she was from the back, especially when put in a defensive position. Making a player like Sabalenka play that extra shot point after point becomes mentally exhausting. And while Sabalenka was able to impose and remain steady in putting away that extra ball in the first set, by the time the second set rolled around, she was tired of putting away the extra ball and started overhitting. Once Sabalenka started spraying her signature groundstrokes wide, you knew it was just a matter of time before Coco would start collecting more points, games, sets, and ultimately the match.
Coco’s athleticism and ability to get to the extra ball point after point is going to be tough to deal with in the next couple of years. Players like Rybakina, Sabalenka and Kvitova will need to figure out another way to get past Coco. I doubt they will. We may very well be witnessing the beginning of something special for Coco.
Onto the Asian swing and WTA Finals.
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