Nearby Miami resident Coco Gauff was upset in her opening match at the 1000 event Thursday night. The 17-year-old who lives in Delray Beach lost to former US Open semifinalist Anastasija Sevastova 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.
“I’m really happy that I fought so hard, I didn’t start good and somehow I found my game in the second set. She was in front in the third set and somehow I fought back,” Sevastova told the crowd.
“She serves well and she moves so well, playing like a counterpuncher and it’s tough for me to make points. I just had to find another way, and I had to make her risk more.”
Gauff was up 6-1, 2-1 before the Latvian caught fire.
“I was playing well the first set. And then the second set I think at 2-1 I lost focus and lost I think it was six games in a row,” assessed Gauff.
“I think the main thing was my serve. Not my serve but my plus-ones, because I served pretty well. I think I only had one double fault, so I think the main thing was when I had a good serve but I think it was important that I make that next shot and I didn’t do that today.”
Sevastova will now meet Simona Halep who rallied from 6-3, 3-1 down to beat former Top 5 Caroline Garcia 3-6, 6-4, 6-0, winning 11 of the last 12 games!
“It’s been a good match, in my opinion. She started very well and her serve bothered me a lot, the kick. So I needed time to get used to it and to get the rhythm,” Halep said. “I struggled with my serve. I struggled with my shoulder a little bit. So the attention was a little bit on the pain.”
Halep also earned her 400th career WTA match win.
“I’m really happy to hear that,” she said of the milestone. “It’s impressive that I won so many matches on main draw. I have many years there in the top also, and I can feel a little bit tired of all the pressure that I had, but also, you know, I feel like more with experience. Now when I face some tough moments during the matches, I know what to do. So it’s from those 400 victories.”
Defending champion Ash Barty also had to rally. In her first match outside of Australia in over a year, the World No. 1 saved a match point at 3-5 in the third to take the last four games to win it 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 over Kristina Kuchova.
“Just never give up,” said Barty who smacked 15 aces. “Honestly you have to be in the fight to have a chance. It’s about trying to just chip away over and over. Matches like that are extremely fulfilling, I think, knowing that you have done the work over an extended period to kind of just get over the edge and just get that result that you’re after.
“Today was much more about the fight than the result, but certainly happy now to be able to give myself another chance in a couple days’ time to be able to go again.”
Barty wasn’t the only seed saving match points on the day. No. 7 Aryna Sabalenka fought off two in the final set breaker to beat Tsvetana Pironkova 0-6, 3-6, 7-6(9).
Reigning French champion Iga Swiatek rolled in her opener beating Swiatek beating Barbora Krejcikova 6-4, 6-2. Angelique Kerber claimed her first double bagel in years whitewashing Renata Zarazua and Elina Svitolina and Petra Kvitova were also winners.
The second round continues on Friday with debuts from Garbine Muguruza, Sofia Kenin, Bianca Andreescu, Karolina Pliskova and Jennifer Brady.
Former champion Sloane Stephens takes on countrywoman Amanda Anisimova.
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