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Coco Gauff scores first WTA 1000 title in Cincinnati; Parks/Townsend win doubles

Arthur Kapetanakis | August 20, 2023


For the second time in three weeks, Coco Gauff is a champion on home soil. After winning her first WTA 500 singles title earlier this month in Washington, D.C., Gauff raised the bar this week by claiming the biggest crown of her career at the Western & Southern Open, a WTA 1000 event.

 

The American's Cincinnati run went through world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the semifinals and Roland Garros finalist Karolina Muchova in the title round. Following her first win against Poland's Swiatek on Saturday, a 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-4 result, the seventh seed finished the job with a commanding 6-3, 6-4 victory against Muchova on Sunday.

Now 5-1 in WTA finals, Gauff also improved to 11-1 following her early Wimbledon exit, excelling under the guidance of new coaches Pere Riba and Brad Gilbert. 

 

"This is unbelievable," Gauff said in a heartfelt trophy speech, thanking her coaches and her family. "Especially after everything I went through earlier in the summer in Europe. I'm just happy to be here in this moment.

 

"I spent a lot of nights alone crying trying to figure it out. I still have a lot to figure out."

 

Gauff's next challenge will come at the US Open, where she will seek to win her first Grand Slam title. She will enter as the world No. 6, two places off her career-high ranking of No. 4, first achieved last October.

By winning the Cincinnati crown, Gauff joined Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport and Madison Keys as the fourth American women's singles winner at the event.

 

The 19-year-old's Cincinnati title also completed an American singles sweep at the summer hard-court WTA 1000s in North America, with doubles partner Jessica Pegula winning Montreal last week. The combined achievement marks the first time Americans have won consecutive events at that prestigious level since 2015, when Serena Williams took the Cincinnati crown before Venus Williams reigned in Wuhan.

Taylor Townsend (left) and Alycia Parks pose with their Cincinnati doubles trophies. Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images.

There was also a sweep for American women this week in Cincinnati, where Alycia Parks and Taylor Townsend teamed to win the doubles title. The unseeded duo upset third seeds Nicole Melichar-Martinez of the U.S. and Ellen Perez of Australian, 7-6(4), 4-6, 10-6, in a dramatic final to win their first WTA 1000 title on Saturday.

 

The first-time partners beat four of the top five seeds on their title run, winning two match tiebreaks along the way. The trophy is Townsend's fourth and Parks' second doubles crown at the WTA level.

 

"I’m really the most proud of the way that we problem-solved and the way that we controlled our energy, and just really put everything into the [final]," said Townsend, who also reached the 2022 US Open women's doubles final alongside Caty McNally. "I think we both left it all out there."

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