“I don’t know where I fit in but I’m not a rookie anymore,” the 18-year old said after defeating her opponent Katerina Siniakova in straight sets 6-1, 6-4. Coco zipped through the first set with dominance over the Czech’s game that at times looked like a practice session. Gauff passed her down the lines, cross courted Katerina and played volleys, winning over most points. At first she naturally looked a bit apprehensive and nervous but her shots were working for her in great ways. As for being on tour with other players of more career titles and experience she got real in saying that “the first round is the hardest.”
The opening set might have been a breeze for Gauff to win, but the second set she was pushed out of her elements a bit by some points Siniakova unexpectedly came up with. Coco at times was left off balanced but tried strongly not to be shaken emotionally. She brought out her strongest serves and returns to melt down the Czech’s game. Straight off from her title win at the ASB Classic in New Zealand, Gauff surely brought her confidence with her to Melbourne where after a few stumbles, she sizzled Katerina by staying focused and believing in her game. She gave kudos to the Czech saying that “the points lost at the net she played really good.” Gauff was down 2-4 in the second set but tried not to let it rattle her self-confidence.
After the win she was happy to just get over the hurdle and said that when she won the opening set “all the pressure was on her (Katerina) because I had already won the first set.” Gauff was not only pleased on her game, but playing on such a historical court. “I’m super honored that the tournament decided to choose me and Katerina to open on Rod Laver Arena,” she said smilingly. This meant a lot to Coco and that will carry her through to the second round when she meets up for the first time in her career with the 2021 U.S. Open winner Emma Raducanu.