Australian Open

Gauff calms nerves and finds serve to advance in Australian Open

Reuters

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Gauff calms nerves and finds serve to advance in Australian Open

FIRST TEST. Coco Gauff of the U.S. celebrates winning her first round match against Slovakia's Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the Australian Open.

Edgar Su/REUTERS

The newest member of the Grand Slam champions club after her US Open success last year, Coco Gauff disposes of Slovakia's Anna Karolina Schmiedlova to reach the second round of the Australian Open

Coco Gauff calmed her opening round nerves to beat Slovakia’s Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, 6-3, 6-0, at the Australian Open on Monday, January 15, with the fourth seed taking some time to find her groove on serve after making some adjustments ahead of the new season.

Gauff, the newest member of the Grand Slam champions club after her US Open success last September, traded breaks freely with Schmiedlova after her opening service game but settled into her stride to produce a late hold and wrap up the first set.

The 19-year-old stepped up a few gears in the next set as Schmiedlova continued to struggle on serve and raced ahead 3-0 with a superb cross-court winner from the deep to draw loud cheers from fans on Rod Laver Arena.

Former French Open runner-up Gauff was barely troubled from there as she served out the match, finishing it off with a neat backhand winner to set up a meeting with fellow American Caroline Dolehide in round two.

“I was a little bit nervous coming in today,” said Gauff. “You probably could tell. I was able to just calm down and then play my good, not my best, but good tennis from that point.”

Gauff said she wanted to be more aggressive on her serve going forward, having worked with former world No. 1 Andy Roddick to make technical tweaks ahead of the new season.

“I think it was more of a mental switch, just a slight change that we did, just helping me with the toss, being more consistent,” said Gauff, who defended her Auckland title ahead of the year’s first Grand Slam.

“I think mentally when I have the aggressive serving mindset, that’s when I play my best tennis. It’s not so much why my serve doesn’t come off hard. It’s more so why am I not going for it more.”

“I’m trying to go for it more. Hopefully I can continue to have that aggressive mindset. I play my best tennis when I do.” – Rappler.com

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