Top seeds Gauff, Svitolina to clash in Auckland Classic final

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Top seeds Gauff, Svitolina to clash in Auckland Classic final

Coco Gauff, the winner of the US Open, kept up her great form before the Australia Open by beating Emma Navarro 6-3, 6-1 in the semi-finals of the Auckland Classic on Saturday.

Gauff is the top seed and world number three. She will defend the title she won a year ago against Elina Svitolina, who beat Wang Xiyu despite having a back problem.

The Ukrainian had to take two medical breaks before she was able to come back and beat the unseeded Chinese player 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Gauff hasn’t lost a set all week and beat fourth seed Navarro quickly in a match that showed off all of her attacking skills. She will be the fresher of the two champions.

The 19-year-old served 10 aces and hit 26 wins. After the match, she said she knew what her American opponent needed to do to calm down. “Just being aggressive, with my serve and my return,” she told me.

“We played a practice set before the tournament started and she was playing really well so I knew it had to be my best game if I wanted to win.”It’s a great beginning to my 2024. Emma really rocks at tennis.”

Svitolina’s quarterfinal win over Marie Bouzkova didn’t end until 11 p.m. on Friday. She was in pain from the start and had to get treatment for her lower back 20 minutes into the match.

The 29-year-old took another break right away after winning the second set, and then she came back to play her best tennis in the last few games. This week, Svitolina beat Caroline Wozniacki and Emma Raducanu, both Grand Slam winners. She said she would have to step up her game to beat Gauff.

“I had really tough matches in the first three rounds and after a late finish last night I went to bed at 2am, so it was not easy,” she shared. “The second set was really tough, but I just kept going.” “I played like there was no tomorrow.”

The 25th ranked Svitolina had to have her right ankle taped up during the second set. She has made it to the semi-finals of three Grand Slams before this one.

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