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Coco Gauff continues excellent US Open preparation with third title of the season

Coco Gauff continued her excellent preparation for this month’s US Open with victory at the Western & Southern Open on Sunday.

The 19-year-old overcame Karolína Muchová 6-3 6-4 in the final having already beaten world No. 1 Iga Świątek in the semifinals.

The title is the American’s third of the season and second hard-court trophy of the summer as she rounds into form ahead of the final grand slam of the calendar year which begins on August 28 in Flushing Meadows, New York.

“I’m really happy with how I was able to manage this week,” Gauff said after becoming the tournament’s youngest ever winner. “I got a huge win yesterday, a big one today. Karolína, she’s not an easy player. It’s really good to see her back at the top. I think she’s one of the most talented players on tour.”

Gauff added: “Today, I really won it off of breaking serve, to be honest. I wasn’t really serving as good as I did against Iga. I don’t know if it was nerves. I wasn’t that nervous, to be honest. Also a combination of the long match yesterday. I wasn’t serving as well.

“I think that’s what makes a champion, is how you’re doing on the days you aren’t feeling so great. I’m glad I was able to push through.”

Gauff is still searching for her maiden grand slam title having reached the final of the French Open last year.

She burst onto the scene as a 15-year-old, but 2023 has seen Gauff find somewhat of a winning formula on the court as she is having her most successful season of her short career by far.

She won in Auckland in January and Washington two weeks ago, and victory in Cincinnati on Sunday was her fifth career title.

Despite the straight set scoreline, it wasn’t very straightforward for Gauff against Muchová though, as the Czech No. 17 seed showed plenty of grit to hold off the youngster at times.

With the title on the line, Muchová saved three match points before holding serve to force Gauff to close out her hard-earned victory in an hour and 56 minutes.

In doing so, Gauff became the first teenager to win three titles in a season since Bianca Andreescu in 2019 and the first teenager to win five career titles since Caroline Wozniacki in 2009, according to the Women’s Tennis Association.

Since suffering disappointment in the first round of Wimbledon earlier in the summer, Gauff – who moved up to No. 6 in the world thanks to Sunday’s victory – has looked imperious, winning 11 of her last 12 matches as she’s ramped up her form ahead of the grand slam held in her home country.

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