Gauff Tops Siniakova To Reach Parma Final

Coco Gauff (photo: Marta Magni/MEF Tennis Eventts)

PARMA, May 21, 2021 (by Lorenzo Carini)

Semifinals in both singles and doubles took place as the first edition of the inaugural WTA Emilia-Romagna Open continued at the Tennis Club Parma on Friday.

First clay-court final for Gauff

American teenager Coco Gauff continued her successful adventure in Parma. The 17-year-old No. reached her first final on clay at the WTA tour level with her victory over the Czech Republic’s Katerina Siniakova, 7-5, 1-6, 6-2, in two hours and eight minutes played in tough, windy conditions during the first set.

Gauff, appearing in her second straight semifinal following Rome last week, was down 4-5 before becoming more aggressive. She broke Siniakova and won the last two games to capture the first set 7-5 after an hour of play. Then, in the second set, the script turned upside down as Siniakova reduced her unforced errors and Gauff increased hers. A dip in Gauff’s energy level enabled Siniakova to take the middle set 6-1. Finally, in the decider, Gauff broke her opponent in the third and fifth games to lead 4-1 and coasted from there, winning on her first match point.

Eight wins in the last nine matches played on red clay for Gauff: “Italy brings me luck, I don’t know yet how I will approach to the final of tomorrow,” said the youngest player still alive Parma after the match, during her on-court interview. Regardless of how she fares in Saturday’s final, Gauff will achieve a career-best ranking next week as she will enter the Top-30 for the first time.

Wang Qiang fights and takes the win

No. 6 seed Wang Qiang of China will contest Gauff for the singles title in Parma. The former World No. 12, who is now ranked 48th, defeated 2017 US Open Champion Sloane Stephens, 6-2, 7-6(3) after being down 1-5 in the second set. Wang saved three set points before dominating the tie-break. The 29-year-old from Tianjin closed the encounter with an ace to clinch her first final appearance of the season and the first one outside of China. Wang has won three titles on home-soil in Zhengzhou, Nanchang and Guangzhou.

Like Gauff, Wang will be playing in her first WTA final on clay. Thanks to a good run in Parma, the Chinese will moved up in the WTA rankings inside the Top 40.

“I just tried to remain focused on my tennis. I don’t know yet how I’ll play Gauff tomorrow, it will be my first time against her. Pat Cash teaches me a lot of things on and off the court, he’s so important for me,” Wang said during her on-court interview after her win.

Gauff to play in doubles final, too

Gauff and longtime doubles partner Caty McNally, both from the United States, defeated No. 1 seeds Alexa Guarachi of Chile and Desirae Krawczyk of the United States 7-5, 7-6 (4) in one hour and 40 minutes to reach Saturday’s final. They will face doubles specialists Darija Jurak of Croatia and Andreja Klepac of Slovenia, who advanced with a 3-6, 7-6(4), 10-8 win over Japan’s Misaki Doi and Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan.

Gauff and McNally have won two WTA doubles titles, both in 2019 at Luxembourg and Washington, D.C., while Jurak and Klepac have combined to win 15 career doubles titles.

[3] Coco Gauff (USA) d. Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 7-5 1-6 6-2
[6] Wang Qiang (CHN) d. Sloane Stephens (USA) 6-2 7-6(3)

[4] CocoGauff (USA)/Caty McNally (USA) d. [1] Alexa Guarachi (CHI)/Desirae Krawczyk (USA) 7-5 7-6(4)
[2] Darija Jurak (CRO)/Andreja Klepac (SLO) d. [3] Misaki Doi (JPN)/Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) 3-6 7-6(4) 10-8