Coco on cruise mode, reaches Auckland semis

TOP seed and defending ASB Classic champion Coco Gauff is wasting no time in wiping the floor with her opponents, cruising into the semi-finals of Auckland after only dropping two games in a 53-minute rout of a quarter final.

Gauff latest victim was Frenchwoman Varvara Gracheva, who she blitzed 6-1 6-1 in rapid time to continue her ridiculous form at the tournament. After winning the 2023 event without dropping a set – and losing five or less games in all bar one of her matches – she has continued that run with three straight set victories thus far.

All three have come in similarly dominant fashion, with her closest win a 6-4 6-2 first round encounter against fellow American Claire Liu before dismantling young gun Brenda Fruhvirtova 6-3 6-0 in the Round of 16, and now storming past Gracheva. On that form line alone, Gauff is only getting stronger in her lead-up to the Australian Open.

The world number three served five aces and won 72 and 73 per cent of her first and second serve points off a 73 per cent clip, breaking Gracheva five times without facing a break point herself. In addition to her strong serving, Gauff also hit 13 winners to only 11 unforced errors in an ominous sign for the future.

“I thought I served really well, probably the best so far this tournament,” Gauff said post-match. “Which was something I was working really hard on in the off-season.”

Gauff takes on another compatriot in world number 31 and fourth seed at the event, Emma Navarro in the semi-final after Navarro knocked off Croatian Petra Martic in straight sets, 6-4 6-3 in an hour and 28 minutes.


Three of the four quarter finals were completed at the WTA 500 event, with second seed Elena Rybakina spending the least time on court courtesy of a retirement from Anastasia Potapova after the Russian sustained a core injury. Rybakina was leading 6-1 at the time.

In a battle of two other Grand Slam winners, eighth seed Victoria Azarenka took care of third seed Jelena Ostapenko in a hard-fought three-set contest. The match lasted two and a half hours with Azarenka putting down 16 aces and winning, 6-3 3-6 7-5.

The other completed match was between two young stars with Czech 19-year-old Linda Noskova ending the run of 16-year-old Russian, Mirra Andreeva. Both players have bright futures, but it was Noskova who advanced to the semi-finals after a 7-5 6-3 win out on Show Court 1.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments