Coco Gauff has done it yet again. The young American scored another one of her gritty come-from-behind wins against compatriot Catherine Dolehide in the opening round of the 2020 Top Seed Open at Lexington.
The young American has time and again shown her knack for eking out wins even when things are not going her way. And that's what she did yesterday as well.
She will, however, have no time to rejoice over the win as an even stronger opponent in the form of second seed Aryna Sabalenka awaits her next.
Sabalenka too had to dig herself out of a hole during her first match in Lexington, as she faced very stiff opposition from another talented American star - Madison Brengle.
The Belarusian scored a three-set win and then came out again to play a tough doubles match later in the night. The extra time spent on the court must have helped her acclimatize to the conditions and get out the early nerves.
A free-striking Aryna Sabalenka will definitely be a huge threat for the entire field in Lexington. Her groundstrokes started connecting more consistently in the final set of her opener, and that does not bode well for her opposition.
Coco Gauff and the teenage fairytale story
This will be the first career meeting between the two women. And while you don't see the 22-year-old Aryna Sabalenka being the senior player in many of her match-ups, against the 16-year-old Coco Gauff she is definitely the more experienced.
It will be interesting to see how the Belarusian handles that pressure, especially considering her opponent's flair for the big stage. Coco Gauff has made a name for herself by upstaging some big names, and this is will be another opportunity for her.
The American had a breakthrough 2019 where she shocked a string of big names, and she continued the fairytale run at the Australian Open earlier this year where she got the better of defending champion Naomi Osaka. Coco Gauff isn't old enough to play a full WTA schedule yet, but she has already proven to be a fearless giant-killer.
The two women have baseline-oriented games, but Sabalenka is certainly the more aggressive of the two. The Belarusian looks to finish points early, while the American likes to drag them out and make her athleticism and foot speed come into play.
They also share a solid serve, and we will likely not see too many points going against either player's first serve.
It will then come down to creating opportunities by mixing things up, and that's where Gauff has a slight edge. If she can manage to bring out her best game at crucial junctures, another shock win might well be on the cards.
Coco Gauff's dream start to her career seems to be getting better with each passing month. If she passes the Sabalenka test too, she would likely be considered one of the title contenders even in the thoroughly stacked Lexington draw.Published 12 Aug 2020, 15:24 IST