"I had a lot of chances. I didn't play my best tennis today..." Coco Gauff sadly said after her loss to Daria Kasatkina at the Texas event. The first set was a tiebreak which Gauff lost. She might have thought she'd have the time to make a comeback and level off the sets but she didn't and bowed at a 7-6, 6-3 victory from her aggressive opponent.
It wasn't only the WTA finals in Texas, but tournaments previous to that one which sent out a red light to Gauff that her game was in trouble. "I think I made a lot of unforced errors," the 18-year-old grimly said.
Were quarterfinals her weakness? She bowed at the Guadalajara Open, San Diego and the U.S. Open all in the quarterfinal rounds. At the Western and Southern in Cincinnati it was a turned ankle that called the end of the match for Gauff at the opening round.
The lanky teen just couldn't catch a break but continued on tour, hoping her game would get better, but it didn't. Fans and the tennis community were used to seeing Coco steam out her opponents, game by game but were astonished to see her become defeated time after time.
Round robin events give players more than one chance to get their techniques together and win matches. It can also prove frustrating to know if you lose in one round, you have to come back no matter how embarrassing it may be.
Coco was facing many players that she hadn't great records on defeating. One was Iga Swiatek who ovepowered her with a 6-0 bagel in the opening set. There was also Caroline Garcia was was on a success streak and had played Gauff before and came out the winner.
Could it be just tiredness that Gauff was suffering from or nervousness on her debut appearance at the WTA finals, the first in her career? It wasn't only the singles game that was affected, but also the doubles with her and partner, Jessica Pegula trying to slam up a winning match, something that Pegula hadn't accomplished either with her singles or doubles match in Texas.
Many opponents were able to take Gauff out of her rhythmic pattern of rallies she usually does. Some used extra heavy shots and aggressive volleys to win over the bewildered teen. It was some opponents who moved Coco around fastly and came up with the winning shot.
She didn't seem aware of how to correct her losing ways and was frankly relieved to be finished. "Texas didn't go the way I wanted it to go," she explained to media outlets. It might have been more than the teen could handle as she had to play eveyday without time to regroup mentally or physically.
Gauff was hopeful that the Billie Jean King Cup in Glasgow, Great Britain would be her oasis for wins since she liked the team concept in some tournaments. It was her only singles match at the BJK Cup she'd lost to the Czech Republic's Katerina Siniakova in straight sets 6-7, 1-6.
The teen was wishing at this point that the losing would stop but finding the winning formula will have to be her definite goal. Kathy Rinaldi the Team USA captain mentions the uniqueness of the BJK Cup is that "When you play for your country, the adrenaline kicks in."
The WTA's 7th ranking young woman was proud to play for her country, but a lost is a lost. Coco will have to find out what isssues are affecting her game and correct them to start winning competitive tennis again. It's for sure that she will have to change her game possibly with less rallying and more deceptive shots to intimidate her opponents.
She had mentioned about her unforced errors being troublesome and says "..that's something that I will have to clean up." It's not an impossible task and Gauff has time to analyze and slightly alter her game.
Fans and the tennis community would love to see this happen again as her winning streak was when she had gotten to the final of the French Open in singles and doubles feeling confident and hopeful her next tournament would be successful.