LINZ, October 13, 2019 (by Alessandro Boroch)
Coco Gauff was crowned Upper Austria Ladies Linz champion following a 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 victory over Jelena Ostapenko from Latvia in Sunday’s singles final. The teenager, who entered the main draw as lucky loser, has become the youngest US-American woman to win a WTA title since Jennifer Capriati lifted the Toronto trophy in 1991 at the age of 15 years and 135 days.
In front of a packed crowd on Centre Court, Gauff came out nervously and faced two break points in her opening service game. The 15-year-old managed to overcome those break points and broke Ostapenko’s serve immediately afterwards to go ahead with an early lead. Both players went on trading holds for the next couple of games until Gauff eventually clinched the opening set after 32 minutes.
Ostapenko, whose match plan was to overpower Gauff particularly on her forehand side, started to be more precisely with her shots in the second set. The Latvian only needed 30 minutes to win the set 6-1 after a horrendous serving performance from Gauff, who didn’t win a point with her first serve during the entire set.
Despite a sobering performance in the second set, the Delray Beach, Florida native remained mentally focused and broke early to go ahead in the deciding set. The US-American teenager set up her first two championship points on Ostapenko’s serve at 5-0, but the Word No. 72 from Latvia was able to avert an eventual bagel after finding back on track with two great winners. Ostapenko kept going with her little run and broke Gauff’s serve at love in the following game, getting a bit closer to a potential comeback.
Gauff was visibly nervous after missing two championship points at 5-0 and getting broken on serve afterwards and called her father, Corey Gauff, for some on-court-coaching advice.
“You’re not going to sprint to the finish line, we are going to walk there,” Corey Gauff said, trying to keep ahead his daughter’s concentration.
After an hour and 39 minutes, Gauff finally converted her third championship point to become the youngest woman to win a WTA title since Nicola Vaidisova won Tashkent on October 17, 2004, almost exactly 15 years ago.
— USTA (@usta) October 13, 2019
“Thank you to everyone for putting on an amazing tournament, I’ll definitely remember this moment for the rest of my life,” said the US-American during the on-court ceremony.
“I entered the tournament as a lucky loser and now I ended up winning my first tournament and being ranked inside the TOP 100 which was my goal at the beginning of the year. It’s just a bit surreal,” commented Gauff on her fairytale movie in Linz.
Gauff rises from No. 110 to No. 71 in the rankings, becoming the youngest player to break into the Top 100 since Sesil Karatantcheva, also at the age of 15, in January 2005.