Coco Gauff Claims First-Round Win at U.S. Open

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By Lamin Drammeh

Number Sixth seed: Coco Gauff overcame a slow start in her opening round match of the U.S. Open by defeating Luara Siegemund in a clash surrounded by time violation controversies in Arthur Ashe Stadium. 

Coco was visibly frustrated with the significant amount of time her opponent used between serves to tactically and intentionally slow down the pace of the match – much to the dismay of over 28,000 spectators, who were also in attendance at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York to witness the match under the ‘bright lights’ in Arthur Ashe, the world’s largest tennis Stadium located in Flushing Meadows, Queens. 

Coco started off slow and eventually lost the first set 3-6, but regained poise, tremendous maturity, and momentum in the second and decisive third sets to reign supreme over her older opponent and claim a vital 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 win on the night.

Coco came to New York to play the best tennis of her life. She was cheered on in the stands by many prominent personalities, including former president Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama, former boxing champion Mike Tyson, 2006 U.S. Open champion Maria Sharapova, and veteran Broadcast journalist Gayle King. 

Coco won 72% of her service points compared to Siegemund’s 50% and also claimed 58% of the points played in the set, as opposed to her opponent’s 42%. 

Speaking of the controversies that halted the match on two separate occasions, Coco said, “I tried to be ‘respectful’ as I confronted the chair umpire during the match. I was patient the whole match. She was going over the time since the first set. I never said anything. I would look at the umpire, and she didn’t do anything.”

She added: “On her serve, even though you’re supposed to be on time, I was being nice. My team told me I should have spoken up earlier. But then it got to the point where she did it a lot on my serve. I was trying to communicate my feelings to the umpire best.”

The American tennis star, who’s picked amongst the tournament favorites along with World Number One Iga Swiatek, World number two Aryna Sabalenka, and Elina Rybakina, entered the U.S. Open with high expectations after her strong performances in the North American hardcourt swing, winning two titles at the WTA 500 event in Washington D.C. and the WTA 1000 at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. 

During her Cincinnati run, Coco clinched her first win over Iga Swiatek en route to winning the biggest title of her career. She is projected to meet the world No.1 again – in the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open in what could be the tournament’s most fascinating women’s match. 

Next, Coco faces the young teenage star Mirra Andreeva (16). The Russian phenom overcame a shaky start against Olivia Gadecki to eventually beat the Australian 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 and set up a blockbuster round two encounter against the in-form Coco Gauff on Wednesday.

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