Teenager Coco Gauff has kicked off her clay-court season with a straight-set(6-3,6-0) win over Tsvetana Pironkova at the Volvo Car Open 2021. The rising star took merely 72 minutes to power past the Bulgarian grass-court specialist.
Having won the Roland Garros junior singles title in 2018, Charleston’s WTA 500 event is Gauff’s third clay-court tournament appearance as a professional, followed by Italian Open 2020 and French Open 2020.
“Clay Gives Me A Little Bit More Time To Prepare My Shots”, says Coco Gauff
In the opening encounter on a Green clay surface, Gauff ousted the former Wimbledon semi-finalist with four aces. She also saved 75% of the first service points and converted 6 out of the 13 her breakpoints.
“I like sliding, and I’m a pretty good mover on hardcourt, so I think it translates to clay,” Gauff said in the post-match press conference.
The 17-year-old American also underlined she moves a little faster on the clay surface, and it gives her a little bit extra time between the shots.
World No.36 continued, “Especially with the sliding, I feel like I move a little bit quicker on clay because you don’t have the hard stops, and you’re able to elongate your steps. Clay gives me a little bit more time to prepare my shots, and I don’t feel as rushed on the clay.”
Coco Gauff took the lead 4-0 during the first set, but Tsvetana Pironkova bounced back to capture three straight games(4-3). No.14 seed eventually brought to a conclusion with winning eight games in a row.
“I played pretty well, and when it got close in the first set, I was able to control the points, find my calmness, and pull through,” Gauff added.
Coco Gauff will now face Liudmila Samsonova for a place at the Round of 16. The Russian wild card entrant stunned Japanese Nao Hibino in a straight-set(6-2, 6-1) in Charleston’s Opening match.