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In the Auckland final, top-seeded Coco Gauff will face a qualifier

Top-seeded Coco Gauff said she couldn’t have had a better start in 2023 after easily defeating another opponent on Saturday to advance to the final at Auckland. With a 6-0, 6-2 victory over seventh-seeded Danka Kovinic of Montenegro, American teenager and world number seven Gauff demonstrated once more that she will be a force at the Australian Open in this month’s tournament.

At the WTA 250 tournament in New Zealand, the hard-hitting Gauff has not dropped a set and is the clear favorite to win Sunday’s final against Rebeka Masarova of Spain.

In a semi-final with two qualifiers, Masarova ranked 130th, defeated Belgian Ysaline Bonaventure 6-3, 6-3. Their progress deep into the tournament exemplifies a week in which the seeds have struggled.

Gauff, on the other hand, has only conceded 20 games and not dropped a set in her four matches.
The 18-year-old will play in the fourth final of her career, her first since losing to world number one Iga Swiatek in the French Open decider seven months ago.

“No matter what happens tomorrow, I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season.”
Gauff, who also reached the US Open quarterfinals last year, has won twice on the WTA Tour, the most recent victory coming nearly two years ago in Parma, Italy.

She was a level above Kovinic, who was ranked 60th, and she returned serve with ferocity to win the first eight games in less than 30 minutes.

Her greatest challenge turned out to be winning before the storm clouds over the center court broke, which has been a problem for the organizers all week.

Three minutes before a deluge delayed the second semi-final by approximately two hours, victory was secured.

Gauff stated that she wanted to avoid having to wait for her match to start over.

After impressing this week with her big serving, the 23-year-old Masarova will compete in her first WTA final.

She has also won all of her matches, including an opening-round upset of second-seeded Sloane Stephens from the United States.

In qualifying, I felt great, and now it feels amazing. Right now, I’m emotionally high.

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