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2022 WTA Finals, Day 6: Gauff's Fort Worth debut concludes with defeat vs. Swiatek

Victoria Chiesa | November 05, 2022


Coco Gauff's first-ever appearance at the WTA Finals ended Saturday with a sixth defeat in as many matches: The 18-year-old American was beaten by world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the final round-robin match of the tournament, 6-3, 6-0. 

 

With Gauff already eliminated from semifinal contention after a loss to Daria Kasatkina on Thursday, and Swiatek already confirmed to reach the semifinals, the two played for little more than formality on Saturday night in front of the largest crowd in Dickies Arena for the week so far. But over 70 minutes, they were treated to a masterclass by Swiatek.

 

From 3-3 in the first set, the top seed won 10 straight games. She hit 20 winners to Gauff's five, and broke her serve five times. Gauff never broke Swiatek's serve, despite having two of her three chances for the match in the Pole's first service game. 

 

It was Gauff's fifth loss to Swiatek overall and fourth this year. In eight sets against the world No. 1 in 2022, Gauff won 14 games. 

Gauff finished 0-3 in singles in Forth Worth, and 0-6 in sets; she and Jessica Pegula also went winless in their doubles debut. After six losses in six days, it was tough for the teenager to see a silver lining, but it was easy to see one from the outside. Not only was she the youngest WTA Finals qualifier in 17 years, she was the youngest American to reach the year-end championships since Lindsay Davenport in 1994.

 

"I know, it wasn't my whole season," Gauff told reporters on Saturday night, "but I feel like I worked so hard to get here and I didn't take the opportunity as I wanted to. It's not even about the losses, just some of the ways that I lost. I feel like I didn't improve this week. I feel like I stayed stagnant. Usually in my career, even if I lose first round at a tournament, there's always some sort of improvement.

"It's probably the worst week of the year for me. I've never lost so much so fast." 

 

Gauff will have to bounce back quickly from her effort in Fort Worth. She says she's still committed to play for the U.S. in next week's Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge Finals in Glasgow, Scotland, where she hopes to help the Americans win a 19th title in competition history.

 

"I have a team and teammates who are ready to play," Gauff said. "So I think right now, my mindset is just on that and try not to dwell too much on this because I still have a team I need to be there for. So I'm kind of grateful that I have that tournament, because it'd be an awful way to end the year on this."

 

"It gives me a lot of motivation to do better, because losing sucks. I'm gonna remember this feeling and use it to feel when I practice and use it to feel when I hopefully play this again. The goal is to try to play again next year."

 

With Pegula also eliminated in the singles round-robin, tne American remains in knockout rounds in Fort Worth. Desirae Krawczyk and her Dutch partner, Demi Schuurs, will face Veronika Kudermetova and Elise Mertens in the doubles semifinals on Sunday.

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