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Frustrated Gauff Could Not Problem Solve Against Ostapenko's Thunderous Game

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday January 21, 2023

There were high hopes for the chances of Coco Gauff this year in Australia, the American entering the draw with a title under her belt and sauntering into her round of 16 clash with Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko with an 8-0 record on the season.

Tennis Express

But it all came crashing down as Ostapenko played to perfection on Day 7 pinning the speedy American back behind her baseline with thundering blasts that consistently landed just inside the baseline.

Gauff was not blown off the court by any means, but she simply couldn’t gain the upper hand.

“She hit a lot of winners, which not a lot of people can do on me,” Gauff said. “So I think that she did a great job today.”

The 18-year-old won her previous meeting against Ostapenko in the Linz final in 2019, but learned today that there is a big difference between an erratic Ostapenko and one that is firing on all cylinders.

“I think every loss is somewhat in my control because I do feel like I'm a good player, but today she just played better.

“I mean, there were moments in the match where I was getting frustrated because I normally can problem-solve, but today I feel like I didn't have many answers to what she was doing,” Gauff said. “There was balls I was hitting deep, and she was hitting them on the line and hitting them back deep, like, over and over again. It's just one of those days that just didn't go my way and went her way.”

Gauff could have helped herself by playing the big points better, but she failed to save any of the three break points she faced. She converted just one of the eight she saw. Despite her tidy stat line – 21 winners against 14 unforced errors – this match was won and lost in the margins.

“I tried what I could,” Gauff said, in tears at one point during her press conference. “Like I said, there are some things I probably could have improved on, but she played well. You can't really do anything. I'm upset obviously, but I feel like I did everything I could in the moment, and I'll probably have to rewatch and see what I can do better."

Still alive in doubles

Gauff still has something to play for in Melbourne, however. She’s alive in the doubles draw and will play the round of 16 alongside Jessica Pegula, against Miyu Kato of Japan and Aldila Sutjiada of Indonesia.

“I'm excited to play doubles,” she said. “I think it gives me a chance to still be around, and I definitely enjoy just competing in general. So I think it will help me regardless of tomorrow, just let me play with some frustration.

“I think doubles has taught me how to play, after losing, how to play with frustration, and that's what I felt like today. I was frustrated.”

Gauf will also be rooting on her doubles partner, Jessica Pegula, who moved into the quarterfinals with a win over Barbora Krejcikova on Sundah.

“I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I hope that I can help her, and I hope that she continues well in the tournament now that I'm out.I hope she wins it. I knew we would probably face each other if we both kept winning.

“Yeah, I'm rooting for her all the way.”