At the onset of the recent Citi Open in Washington, Coco Gauff hadn’t clinched a title on US grounds. Furthermore, she hadn’t triumphed outside of a 250-tier tournament.
Her recent memory included an upsetting opening round loss at Wimbledon, and she was debuting with her new coaching team, Pere Riba and Brad Gilbert. Given these factors, few saw the 19-year-old as a frontrunner when the tournament began.
Yet, the current world No. 7 breezed her way to her most prestigious title yet on Sunday. Gauff showcased remarkable consistency and an enhanced serve and forehand, not conceding a single set all week. She decisively overcame Maria Sakkari in the finals with a score of 6-2, 6-3, marking her second title win of the year.
Upon securing the victory, Gauff spontaneously broke into a jubilant twirl and dance.
After her underwhelming performance at the All England Club, Gauff appeared eager to reset her season.
“We’ve made our first appearance as a complete unit,” Gauff remarked about her team with Riba and Gilbert. “I’m grateful we could achieve this. My heartfelt thanks to those who stuck around, especially during the trying Wimbledon period. I’m elated I could turn things around.”
Acknowledging her parents as her driving force behind her passion for tennis and for her “vibrant personality”, Gauff became the youngest player to bag four or more WTA titles since Caroline Wozniacki. This victory reinstates her as a genuine contender for the impending US Open.
Subsequent to Gauff’s win, Dan Evans clashed with Tallon Griekspoor in the men’s final, both seeking the most significant titles of their career trajectories. Evans, aged 33, prevailed with a score of 7-5, 6-3, making him the oldest winner of this event since 1988 and elevating his rank from 30th to 21st. Evans was awarded a prize money of $353,445. In contrast, despite both genders receiving equal prominence, Gauff’s earnings stood at $120,150.
During a press meet, tournament chairman Mark Ein announced intentions for equal pay from 2027 onward.
Apart from the wins of Gauff and Evans and the disparity in their prize money, other notable moments from last week include:
A noteworthy night:
On the surface, Gauff’s match against world No. 204 Hailey Baptiste may have appeared unremarkable, but it held special significance for both.
Despite encountering logistical issues like losing her bag and buying fresh equipment, Baptiste, a local, cherished the opportunity to face Gauff, a dear friend. Gauff, triumphant with a score of 6-1, 6-4, later shared the sentimental value of sharing the court with Baptiste.
Playing against Baptiste evoked strong emotions in Gauff as she remembered their shared experiences growing up with limited representation of black women in junior tennis.
While Dan Evans may have clinched the men’s title, Frances Tiafoe was the crowd’s favorite, drawing large audiences and celebrity support, including Kevin Durant, who also hailed from Maryland.
Just as Gauff and Evans celebrated their victories, Stefanos Tsitsipas began his North American hardcourt season on a high. The 24-year-old clinched a title after a year with a 6-3, 6-4 win against Alex de Minaur.
In the run-up to the Canadian Open, Casper Ruud was honored with the ceremonial first pitch at a Toronto Blue Jays game, displaying skills beyond his tennis prowess.
World No. 1 for the 71st week, Iga Swiatek, while at the Canadian Open, joked about the IGA Stadium, humorously suggesting it was named after her.
Pick for the Pickle:
Recently, the pickleball court witnessed a tennis player excel. Over the past weekend, Hurricane Tyra Black, a former top-20 junior player, clinched her debut gold medal on the PPA Tour. After the win, an ecstatic Black hinted at leaving tennis to focus solely on her newfound passion, pickleball.