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Pro Media & News

2022 WTA Finals, Day 4: Coco Gauff eliminated after loss to Daria Kasatkina

Victoria Chiesa | November 03, 2022

Coco Gauff's debut WTA Finals is all but officially over. With a 7-6(6), 6-3 loss to Daria Kasatkina in round-robin action on Thursday in Fort Worth, the 18-year-old dropped to 0-2 in the Tracy Austin Group and was mathematically eliminated from semifinal contention.


Gauff will play her final singles match on Saturday against world No. 1 Iga Swiatek. She and Jessica Pegula, already eliminated from doubles with a loss on Wednesday, will close out pool play against Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova on Friday.


Both Gauff and Kasatkina had lost their opening round-robin tilts on Tuesday—Gauff to Caroline Garcia in a rematch of the US Open quarterfinals, and Kasatkina to world No. 1 Iga Swiatek—making the match crucial to keeping both players' hopes to reach the semifinals alive. It was Gauff who started the stronger of the two; after losing serve in the opening game, she won four straight to put herself in pole position. 


But the advantage in the set changed hands three times over the course of 66 minutes; Kasatkina got even, and later had a set point serving at 6-5. She wouldn't wrap up the opener, though, until her third chance to do so—an opportunity she only got after coming from 3-0 down in the tiebreak. With momentum firmly on her side, Kasatkina then broke Gauff in each of her first three service games of the second set.


In victory, Kasatkina improved to 3-0 in her career against Gauff, and 6-0 in sets. 

"I had a lot of chances," Gauff mused in her post-match press conference. "I didn't play my best tennis today, but [there's] a lot to take from it, a lot to learn from it and hopefully, do better next time."


Gauff struggled in the face of Kasatkina's world-class defense; though Gauff had nearly twice Kasatkina's total of winners (26 to 14), she also racked up three times the unforced errors (43 to 14). 


The performance was a microcosm of the challenge Gauff faced in her first-ever experience with the round-robin format of the year-end championships; she came into the tournament with a losing head-to-head record against Swiatek and Kasatkina, and also lost her last match to Garcia. 


The lesson of it all was not lost on the teenager this week, even in defeat.

"Obviously, when you're starting off the tournament, you have a tough match opponent right away," Gauff said. "But regarding the format and everything, it doesn't feel too different. But yeah, definitely the level is a lot harder right off the bat."


Gauff has one more stop in 2022 before her career-best season concludes. She and Pegula, as well as Danielle Collins, Madison Keys and Taylor Townsend, will make up Kathy Rinaldi's team for the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Glasgow, Scotland next week.


Fans of American tennis might be hoping that Gauff takes the lessons she learned about the round-robin format this week across the pond. The event begins Tuesday, with the U.S. scheduled to play group stage ties of two singles matches and one doubles match each against Poland and the Czech Republic on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.


The U.S. is in the hunt for a record-extending 19th Billie Jean King Cup title.


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