Auckland: Elina Svitolina avoids shock loss, sets up final showdown versus Coco Gauff

Gauff claimed a routine win in the Auckland semifinal, while Svitolina had to work hard.

by Dzevad Mesic
Auckland: Elina Svitolina avoids shock loss, sets up final showdown versus Coco Gauff
© Getty Images Sport - Phil Walter

No. 1 seed Coco Gauff continued her brilliant Auckland display this week as the top-ranked American female tennis player safely reached the final, while second-seeded Elina Svitolina avoided a shock defeat after managing to complete a comeback.

Gauff, the defending Auckland champion, dominated Navarro 6-3 6-1 to reach back-to-back finals in New Zealand. On the other side, Svitolina survived a scare as the Ukrainian tennis star came back from a set down to beat Wang Xiyu 2-6 6-4 6-3.

When Gauff, 19, and 29-year-old Svitolina meet in the Auckland final, it is going to be their second meeting. In their first meeting at the 2021 Australian Open, Svitolina won 6-4 6-3. However, world No. 3 Gauff is now a much better and more improved player than she was three years ago.

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff© Dave Rowland / Stringer Getty Images Sport

How Gauff beat Navarro?

The first break points of the match were seen in the fourth game, when Gauff earned three consecutive break points and realized her second break point to go up by an early break. Up by a break, Gauff routinely held on to her serve for the remainder of the first set, not allowing a single break point to Navarro.

After winning the first set, Gauff also made a commanding start to the second set, claiming breaks in the first and fifth games for a comfortable 4-1 lead. In the sixth game - when Navarro was serving to stay in the match - Gauff sealed her third break of the set to complete her straight-set win.

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff© Getty Images Sport - Phil Walter

Svitolina completes a comeback win over Wang

Svitolina got off to a pretty slow start to the match, surrendering back-to-back breaks in the third and fifth games. Down by a double break, Svitolina managed to get one break back in the sixth game but then dropped her service again in the following game as Wang took a 5-2 lead before realizing her first set point in the eighth game.

After losing the first set, Svitolina saved a break point in the first game of the second set to avoid going down by an early break. In the 10th game, when Wang was serving to stay in the second set, Svitolina earned her first break point of the set - which at the same time was her first set point, and realized it to send the match into a decider. 

Elina Svitolina
Elina Svitolina© Getty Images Sport - Phil Walter

Expectedly, Svitolina carried the momentum into the third set as the Ukrainian claimed back-to-back breaks in the fourth and sixth games for a very comfortable 5-1 lead. Just when it seemed Wang was done, the Chinese managed to get one break back in the seventh game and then serve out the following game. However, Svitolina was able to keep her focus and serve out for the match in the eighth game after realizing her second match point.

Elina Svitolina Coco Gauff