Gauff outclasses Spaniard to clinch Auckland Classic title

tennis08 January 2023 09:16| © AFP
Coco Gauff © Getty Images

Top seed Coco Gauff mixed patience with her trademark power to win the final of the rain-hit Auckland Classic against Spain's Rebeka Masarova on Sunday, ahead of the Australian Open.

American teenager Gauff negotiated two lengthy stoppages before seeing off Spanish qualifier Masarova 6-1, 6-1 to complete a dominant week in which she was barely challenged.

The world No 7 didn't drop a set at the tournament and effortlessly cast aside 130th-ranked Masarova to clinch her third WTA title and her first for nearly two years.

Displaying the sort of form that took her to the final of the French Open seven months ago, Gauff's methodical groundstrokes look set to be a potent weapon at the year's first Grand Slam starting in Melbourne in just over a week.

The 18-year-old also showcased a cool mental approach, untroubled by the stormy weather that afflicted the Auckland event throughout the week.

Two of her five matches were forced indoors while two others were disrupted by rain, including the final, which began nearly two hours late.

Gauff was serving at set point in the first set when another downpour forced the players off more than two hours.

The marathon match appeared to be draining for 23-year-old Masarova, whose first appearance in a WTA final was her seventh match in eight days, including qualifying.