It might even feel like déjà vu for Gauff, who started off 2023 by winning the same title, tennis site Lob and Smash reports. She defended her title with a three-set victory over Elina Svitolina, 6-7, 6-3, and 6-3.
After the match Gauff said, “I don’t know if I was expecting this result, but I’m really happy with how I managed to play today.”
“I think today level-wise was definitely not my best match or best level this week, but sometimes when you win when you’re not playing your best, it makes you feel more satisfied,” said Gauff.
This latest victory marks Gauff’s “seventh career WTA title” out of eight appearances in the finals. In addition, the third-ranked player in the world is now only the fourth player ever to have won a back-to-back singles title at Auckland. And she accomplished this feat at only 19 years old.
After winning her first Grand Slam title a little over four months ago, Gauff is now set to compete at the Australian Open in Melbourne.
“It [the ASB Classic win] gives me a lot of confidence, especially sometimes when you’re playing a tournament and some of the matches are going pretty easily for the score line,” stated Gauff. “It was cool to see how I was able to react under pressure, especially after losing the first set when I was up.”
“So I’m happy with the mental fight I showed today. There are things I can improve on but overall I’m happy with the level I played this week, playing five matches,” Gauff added.
Since bursting onto the scene with a remarkable showing at Wimbledon in 2019, Gauff’s play has been steadily improving. Her coach Brad Gilbert says “It’s the balance of both (offense and defense).”
“Obviously, you want to win with more offense, it’s not as taxing,” continued Gilbert, who also “coached Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray.”
“You have to be willing to do both. Maybe the greatest I’ve seen at both is (Novak) Djokovic. His ability to lock down on the court – he can at any moment. But then he also has this unbelievable ball-control offense,” said Gilbert, adding “With Coco, that’s what we’re working toward. Keep improving, trying to get better.”
At the Australian Open, Gauff will be “seeded fourth, and will face world No. 67 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia.”
The Australian Open will also be Naomi Osaka’s first major after giving birth last summer. Coincidentally, Osaka “is the last woman to win the US and Australian Opens back-to-back, doing so in 2020-21.”
Fans can watch the first round starting on Sunday, January 14, and the action will spill over into Monday and Tuesday.