Gauff wins first title
at WTA Linz Open
Arthur Kapetanakis | October 13, 2019
In just her fifth WTA main-draw appearance, 15-year-old Coco Gauff won her first title at at the International event in Linz, Austria. The American phenom took out 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2, to become the youngest WTA champion since Nicole Vaidisova in 2004.
Sunday's victory came two days after Gauff upset top seed and world No. 8 Kiki Bertens for her first career Top-10 win. After starting the week outside the WTA's Top 100, Gauff will move into the Top 75 with the title, virtually guaranteeing her direct entry into the 2020 Australian Open.
"I’m still overwhelmed and shocked," she said in the glow of her title triumph. "I guess it’s crazy to say it’s my first WTA title. This was definitely not on the calendar at the beginning of the year, because I didn’t think I’d have a chance to get in, and now I’m the champion, so it’s crazy."ADVERTISEMENT
Never one to be overawed by an occasion, Gauff started her first final in dominant fashion by taking the first three games, saving two break points in the first game of the match. The one-break advantage was enough for the youngster to seal the set, as she did not face another break point in the opening stanza.
Ostapenko fought back in set two, her high-risk game reaping rewards through a flurry of winners as she leveled the match.
Gauff dominated the decider, storming to a 5-0 lead and creating two match points on the return for a potential bagel set. Ostapenko closed to 5-2 with a battling service hold and a break at love, but the American kept her at arm's length, winning the title when the Latvian sailed a forehand long on match point No. 3.
"It’s just literally insane that I got in as a lucky loser and now I’m the champion," Gauff said after the match. "My dad told me when I got in, before the first main-draw match, he said ‘You can’t lose twice in the same tournament!' I’m sure he never thought it would come this far, to being the champion, but I guess he was right!"
Gauff will officially enter the WTA's Top 100 on Monday when the updated rankings are released. According to the WTA, she will be the youngest player to make her WTA Top-100 debut in more than 14 years. She will also become the first American to make her Top 100 debut before 16th birthday since Chanda Rubin in 1991, and the youngest American to make Top-100 debut since Jennifer Capriati (in 1990 at 14 years, 11 days old).
Next up for Gauff is another WTA International tournament, this one in Luxembourg. She will take on No. 8 seed Anna Blinkova of Russia in Round 1.